I could have named this blog post Living with extensions in a hybrid Dynamics NAV database. The title I went with is far cooler though. And since I write this stuff mostly for my own enjoyment you get stuck with the cool title.
You see, a little over a year ago I traded in my trusty old bike for a Harley Davidson. It is an awesome bike. Riding it feels like having the mad god of Milwaukee steel shred the fabric of reality and smash you face first through the black hole thus created. I love it and until I can buy the flying steam train out of Back to the Future it is my preferred mode of transport.
It did create a bit of a problem though. I had wrenched on my old bike for years. I knew it inside out, and my thirty year old metric spanners worked perfectly well on it.
Harley Davidson though does not do metric though. Metric tools lack something undefined. They are perhaps too refined for something as cool as a Harley. So I had to get a whole new set of inch sized tools. And that is not the only difference. There is a whole different planet of aftermarket parts for Harleys. I had to find out where to get the stuff I needed to do a simple oil change. It was infuriating.
But I guess that is change. More than a year later I still can’t guess if I need a 1/2 or 9/16th inch wrench but mostly I am happy on planet Harley.
And that brings us back to Dynamics NAV. Or Business Central or whatever you want to call it. Our environment has changed. We have had a major change in the way we work and we are still trying to make sense of it. Sometimes it feels as if the not so mad god of Danish sensibility has left us to an uncertain world of extensions, API’s and all sorts of other things that we can’t make head or tail of.
Where I work (a Dynamics NAV end user) we decided to upgrade to Dynamics NAV 2018 and start working with extensions. And, as I learned to live with Imperial wrenches I am also learning to live with AL and Visual Studio Code. Mostly I like it. Not as much as C# but definitely more than C/AL. The biggest problems we experience are due to the fact that we are in an in between period. We are forever generating symbols because we still need to develop in C/Side. We are creating events in custom code in standard objects because we need to move on and develop new things. I still have doubts about how easy the upgrades will be when Microsoft decides to change the events we use. But upgrading will be easier, no doubt about that.
So basically what I want to say with this blog is this. Cheer up. Change is hard. It is inevitable but it sucks. It creates great opportunities and even bigger pains in the backside. But from where I stand we are going to a good place.
With extensions you can do everything you should do. The rest you should leave alone even in C/Side.
How does that good place look? Dynamics NAV (or Business Central if you must) systems with as little modification as we can get away with. Just customized enough to give our customers or employers a competitive edge. Connected to great server based web applications through API’s. Using machine learning to help our users make sense of the masses of data we create. And think of Azure functions. Great ways of decentralizing business logic and ensuring similar execution across several platforms.
So the future looks good. As long as we develop ourselves to be something more than Navision developers. Change is hard. But, as 15 months of riding a Harley Davidson taught me, change is also good.
And so I hoist my glass to the mad god of change. May we live in interesting times.
Before you move on there is one thing I want to point out. I am independent. I have zero desire to ever become a MVP. It is a great award and I am grateful to all MVP’s for sharing their knowledge but it is not for me. There is no advertising here because I value my independence much more than the €4 per month WordPress charges me for removing the ads. The only reason I write this is because I enjoy writing it. If anyone disagrees with my opinions then that is fine. This is my view.
Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own. Bruce Lee