Navision Software launches Navision version 3.0 in late in 1989. This was a big change to the previous versions, as it now allowed partners to change the core of the system. Previously it had been just enough open to allow their partners to change certain objects, like reports, forms and tables. Now "everything" was open. As long as you were an IBM BusinessCenter partner and had an "AL-key".
Navigator/Navision 3.04 was the only release between 1991 and 1994.
Introduced was the new integrated development environment - the object designer. And AL, the new application language. It was a complete application development language using the development language Pascal's syntax. Through the different "objects" all the code related to the actual accounting application was open to the developers. All existing tables, forms, reports, dataports and codeunits, could be changed and new objects created.
This allowed partners with an AL-key to do very advanced modifications, compared to both the previous versions (where only reports/batch reports, tables and forms could be created/changed).
It was very unique in the market at that time. Navision quickly "won" the Danish market. A few years later Navision's biggest competitor Damgaard Data, introduced their eXtended Application Language in XAL, just to keep up with them.
In the 1980'ies and early 1990'ies Pascal was one of the most popular development language in the world on CP/M and DOS. I all Danish colleges and universities Pascal was the first language they taught you. And Denmark already had another international software success based on Pascal. Compas Pascal, later PolyPascal was the fastest and most popular Pascal compiler created by another Dane Anders Hejlsberg.
He later joined Microsoft, where his first job was to create the J++ programming language and the Windows Foundation Classes. Since 2000, he has been the lead architect of the team developing the language C#. Anders is the brother of Thomas Hejlsberg, who since 2003 have been one of the main architects on Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
There had already been add-on solutions for the previous Navision 2.x, for example an auditor solution. But when AL basically removed all the previous limitations, then this market almost exploded. All partners had their set of add-on's and soon some partners started focusing more on selling through other partners.
Among the early "standard" add-on's in Denmark were NaviBanking by Navtilus Software (now Continia). Other add-on's were acquired by Navision and became part of the standard product. Examples on this is the fixed assets module in version 3. Something they also did later with the foundations for the CRM and advanced warehousing modules also.
The partnership between PC&C and IBM was very successful in Denmark. A success they in 1988 had discussed to extend to a number of European IBM subsidiaries. Due to existing partnerships with local accounting software vendors, IBM decided to decline the opportunity to use Navigator as an IBM logo-product outside of Denmark.
1990 is the year when Navision for the first time becomes available outside Denmark. Local distributors are started in Iceland (Fjördiner) and Germany (Navigator).
Expansion continues beyond Scandinavia and Germany. Spain and the United Kingdom follows. Here the name Navision was used for the first time.
Story about how Navision started in Germany
The expansion continues up through the 1990'ies. Initially using local independent distributors. Later co-ownership between Navision and the local distributor.
IBM continues to be the distributor in what is still the biggest market, in Denmark. Additionally a team from IBM sells a world-wide version of Navision in countries, where Navision Software didn't have a local distributor.
In the years before, Navision Software A/S in 1999 enters the Copenhagen Stock Exchange, they had been buying up most of their local distributors.
In the early 1990'ies IBM's OS/2 was technologically superior to Microsoft Windows 3.1, and common by Navision users, as Navision already worked on OS/2. So partners and users was expecting a graphical version of Navision running OS/2. But IBM OS/2 was at least 2-3 years to early for the market. As everybody knows today Microsoft Windows won the first war of the graphical user interfaces.
The "second war" ended in 2017, when Microsoft lost the war the SmartPhones OS. This time Microsoft already lost it. Apple and Google continues the fight.
In Navision Software had already decided to go the Windows way. At the CeBit trade show in Germany in the Spring of 1993, they show prototype of Navision for Windows. But it get dropped and we have to wait 2 more years for a true Windows version.