In the world of Microsoft NAV technology, the past year has been extraordinary as we’ve watched our beloved Dynamics NAV regenerate into the awe-inspiring Dynamics 365 Business Central
Impressed by the ingenuity behind this latest technology and the way Microsoft believes in it - investing heavily to bravely push forward instead of resting on its laurels – our Managing Director, Ian Humphries feels congratulations are in order:
“When I started working with Navision in 1995, I was in awe of the solution built by the Danes. As an IT guy and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) person, I loved the combination of genius technology: its own amazing database (before SQL); the still awesome flow-field technology; and the fantastic filtering - all aiding an incredible functionality set (OK, version 1 back in 1995 was rather smaller than today’s end-to-end deep and rich functionality!).
Continuing the tradition for excellence
“Here we are, a full 24 years on, and every week the fantastic team at Microsoft in Lyngby (Denmark) is continuing the tradition for excellence started all those years ago in Vedbaek, where the original NAV was first conceived as PCPlus.”
In fact, only this month, the team at Lyngby excelled itself by finding a way to deliver part of an extension, paving the way to make AL the only development tool needed for our new 365 Business Central world.
Our Product Director, Paul Cartwright, says Dynamics NAV always ran in C/AL code and even though it’s an old language, it has served us well. “C/AL was always considered the powerhouse – the engine – and AL was a way to put in ‘nice bits’ on the side to extend it. Now Microsoft is saying AL will be the new engine for Dynamics 365 Business Central (in the Cloud) and it’s working to replace all of the C/AL with AL, which will also benefit On-Prem very soon.”
The biggest challenge with C/AL is when it’s time to make a change or upgrade. The average extension is 50 files whereas the whole of the knowledge-base in NAV is about 6000 files. In C/AL, if a change is made in just one line of a file, all 6000 files have to be replaced! This is both time-consuming and frustrating for developers, who have to sit and wait until it’s done, and it slows the development time.
Microsoft is leading the charge!
“With Microsoft’s new release of RAD (Rapid Activation Development) an extension for Dynamics 365 Business Central, written in AL code, only the specific part which has been changed needs to be updated, and it’s done quickly,” says Paul. This will save huge amounts of time during development.
“AL is now about writing big things! It’s not just a tool to write extensions. People are starting to see the effects already. All our Business Central development is now in AL, both in Projects and our nHanced Products, meaning upgrading systems is now much simpler and quicker, and come Spring, we will see more benefits. AL works, and Microsoft is leading the charge!”
With Dynamics 365 Business Central in the Cloud, Microsoft is now able to use telemetry (a form of data collection) to get an insight into what problems people may be having with their systems. For example, it shows where the system may be inefficient, where processes are too slow, and if people can’t find certain functions.
Microsoft is not only responding to the telemetry data, it’s also listening to feedback from Microsoft partners. Instead of partners always having to make those changes to individual Dynamics 365 Business Central customers, Microsoft is now targeting those issues, making the changes and delivering them quickly across the globe.
“The changes are effective and impressive, not just in terms of speed but also in ease of use and being a better user experience,” says Paul. “Microsoft is not messing around!”
While this is good news for users of Dynamics 365 Business Central, if you’re a Classic NAV user, you will not benefit from the move to AL and the many advantages of having access to the latest technological advances.
If you’re using Classic NAV (or indeed, any version of NAV) and you’ve been thinking about upgrading for a while, maybe now is the time to ‘jump’. Dynamics 365 Business Central is going to keep getting better and faster, and with new developments it means this could be your last big upgrade.
For customers who keep investing in their old systems, it’s money that will need to be re-spent down the track - and even if you’re doing nothing in your old system, you are still missing out on all the new developments and improvements which could save your business time, money and frustration.
Congratulations to Microsoft on the success of the technological wonder that is Microsoft Dynamics 365BC! And congratulations for all the related new products you are developing and improvements you’re doing to make life easier for us all.
Paul says: “The old developer environment was amazing and has served us extremely well, helping to tailor customer solutions for almost 25 years. The new AL environment is the next generation of the amazing ERP extending technology. Not only is it a fast, efficient and easy-to-learn tool, but also it easily builds extensions as separate code from the standard, making it easy to plug-in additional features and 3rd party apps without affecting the standard code. Obviously this leads to simple upgrades too.
“Every year, we used to say the latest version of NAV was the best version – ever. Now every month we’re saying it!”
Our Managing Director, Ian Humphries, has the final word: “The team at Microsoft has continued to deliver stunning technology after stunning GUI after stunning function. It’s amazing. From this ageing NAV guy and on behalf of the team of Navophiles at The NAV People ... we salute you!”
For more information about Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central click here