Personalization vs Design in D365 Business Central

I’ve just finished with my presentation on eXtreme 365 about new in Dynamics 365 Business Central and I want to continue my texts about new solution, because I’ve already wrote about some basic expressions.

With Dynamics 365 Business Central we’ve got some new features for customizations and “customizations”. Previously, you could use Design mode as In-App Designer to make some basic customizations or to download it as extension code, open in Visual Studio Code and continue with development. But now we have personalization as well and I want just to show what is basic difference.

When you run standard environment, you can see only ‘Personalize’ in settings.

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But if you run sandbox environment, you can see both ‘Personalize’ and ‘Design’ options in settings.

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If you choose ‘Personalize’ options, you will get something similar as the following picture:

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You will see red frame and that means you can personalize your page or pages. You can move or hide some parts. But you can also add new fields (existing fields from table), or set new place for Freeze Pane. What is else new? If you run list page, you can stretch your columns. You can do it in all pages where you want and when you finish and click on Done, system will collect all your personalization and you can continue to use them.

But if you run ‘Design’, you will get the similar screen, but this time with purple frames.

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Generally, you can do more or less the similar things with Design feature as with Personalize. But this time when you finish everything you planned you will create Extension. When you finish everything and click on Stop Design, you need to fill Extension Name and Publisher and save it. And if you plan to add some bigger changes, you can choose do mark Download Code field and then you will download AL code which can be opened with VS Code and add more seriously customization.

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Anyway, when you use Design mode, everything you done will be showed and installed extension:

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And on the end I would like to add some conclusion. These conclusions are based on advice from some my friends and readers and I think they are in right, because it will be more clear.

Personalization is, as stated, a personal affair. Any changes I make are applicable only to me. This is of course a highly valuable feature in production environments (what you called “standard environment”) to have my workspace optimized just right for how I work.

Designing, on the other hand, applies to all users on that environment. It is intended for Developers or power users to create lightweight extensions that will ultimately be used by all in the organization. The extension produced by the Designer could be edited and enriched further in Visual Studio code where the possibilities are endless (through AL code). Eventually, that extension could be submitted to AppSource for distribution at scale, or it could be imported into a customer’s production environment to customize D365 Business Central.
Since Designing is a technical and mostly dev-focused activity, we don’t enable it in production environments. That is also why Designing gives you a few more features, such as being able to preview your creation as it would appear on a tablet or phone.

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How to install NAV 2018?

OK, two days ago NAV 2018 has been released and I hope all of you were already downloaded this new version. Installation process is still very easy, but I want to show just few points where you need to take care.

When you run setup and try to customize your installation, you will see now one more thing here – Modern Development Environment (by default this is enabled, but just check it). If you don’t want to work with extensions, you don’t need it, but I hope you will develop only with extensions in this version.

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After that, just keep eyes opened on the next step, when you need to specify parameters. OK, if you don’t do it, you can do it later. But anyway, I think it is much easier to do when you install NAV. This is related again with Modern Development Environment, and this time it is not enabled by default. You need to change Developer Service Enabled option to YES and to choose Developer Services Port. After that, everything is the same as in previous NAV versions.

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But if you didn’t finish previous step during installation process, you just need to run NAV Administration tool and add Port on Development tab and to restart service.

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Or you can do it using PowerShell if you prefer with the following cmdlet (do not forget to restart service after changing):

Set-NAVServerConfiguration <InstanceName> -KeyName 'DeveloperServicesPort' -KeyValue <PortNumber>

Now, you are ready to work with NAV 2018 and to make your first extension.

PS

And just to mention, you can find System Requirements for Dynamics NAV 2018 here. But I tried to install NAV on SQL 2017 although there is noticed that NAV 2018 is available on SQL 2016 and SQL 2014 (and Azure SQL as well). However, I installed it on SQL 2017 and it works. I’ll check it with more details, and if I find something, I’ll publish it.

All sessions from NAV TechDays 2017

NAV TechDays 2017 has just finished a few days ago and I already wrote about my expressions. Now, all sessions are already published and I want to have all of them on the one place. There are all of them:

Opening Keynote

Deep dive into the new development tools by Stanislaw Stempin, Jesper Schulz-Wedde and Esben Nyhuus Kristoffersen (all from Microsoft Development Center Copenhagen)

Desktop & Mobile Client Enhancements by Horina Serbanescu, Andrea Tino and Tomas Grubliauskas (all from Microsoft Development Center Copenhagen)

Application SaaSification by Henrik Frovst Madsen and Tommaso Pimpo (all from Microsoft Development Center Copenhagen)

Azure Functions Deep Dive by Vjeko Babic (Cloud Ready Software)

C/AL, Coding for Performance by Jasminka Thunes (NxM Business Solutions) and Jörg Stryk (STRYK System Improvement)

Creating great API’s by Anders Larsen and Nikola Kukrika (all from Microsoft Development Center Copenhagen)

Rock ‘n Roll with VSCode by Waldo (iFacto & Cloud Ready Software)

PowerApps, Common Data Services and Common Data Model by Michael Nielsen (ForNAV) and Mark Brummel (NAV Skills)

Easier and DevOps-friendly Dynamics NAV environments using Docker / Windows Containers by Tobias Fenster (Axians Infoma), Jakub Vaňák (Marques Olivia) and Freddy Kristiansen (MDCC)

Best practices to get automated tests running on your solution by Luc van Vugt (fluxxus.nl) and James Crowter (Technology Management)

Office 365 business apps powered by Dynamics 365 “Tenerife” platform by Ievgenii Korovin, Andreas Moth and Monica Ahuja (all from Microsoft Development Center Copenhagen)

Source Code Management with Visual Studio Code Made Easy by Soren Klemmensen (360 Visibility) and Jonas Andersen (Elbek & Vejrup)

Enjoy and see you there the next year…

Translation in Extensions in NAV / D365 Tenerife

Today is announced November Update for new NAV Development Environment. There a lot of good things in this preview, but by my opinion one thing stands out. Maybe I think so, because I’m from countries where Microsoft doesn’t prepare official localization, and because of that partners need to do it by them self.

Anyway, from this update, it is possible to add translation to Extensions. This is the first step in providing localization via extensions. I don’t want to say that everything else is simplify, but this was necessary feature to do it. OK, translation will not be made as before, and now we need to accept different approach, but feature is here.

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I don’t want to write about this and other features in detail, because this is already published on Microsoft official blog and you can read there.

The future of NAV – a small wrap up

These days we got a lot of messages about the future of our product – Dynamics NAV. Now I’m seating in a plane and traveling to Nashville on NAVUG Summit and finally have found some time to make a small wrap up with all important things. I think now, after two Directions in North America and EMEA, picture is clearer.

Roadmap

The first thing I want to mention is roadmap of Dynamics NAV. I think it is absolutely clear that in this moment we have Dynamics NAV 2017 as ‘on prem’ and ‘on cloud ready’ solution, but as SaaS, we have Dynamics 365 for Financial and Operations Business Edition, generally based on Dynamics NAV. But this is just in this moment, because Marko Perisic announced in Madrid last week that we will have published Dynamics NAV 2018 at December 1st. This announced is mostly based on partners feedback and this is absolutely this what partners wanted. For now, SaaS solution will stay the same, with the same name and in the same countries (US, Canada and UK). But with this new NAV version, partners will get new solution and the most important, with this new NAV version they can start to use Visual Studio Code for Extensions v2. This is important because partners now can start immediately with new model of development and to be ready for the spring and new solution.

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At the spring 2018, we will finally get already announced new product – Dynamics 365 “Tenerife”, but only as cloud SaaS solution. As on-prem solution, we will get Dynamics NAV 2018 R2, but with the same code base as Dynamics 365 “Tenerife”. In this moment I don’t know a reason why we will still have the same product with the different names ‘on cloud’ and ‘on prem’. But very soon, we will continue with only one name – currently code name Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’. System will have new modern web interface, sandbox and lot of new features (more about it in another post).

And ant the spring, we will get Dynamics 365 for Sales App with less features (ex Business Edition) and Dynamics 365 for Marketing as preview. Both of these products was presented on Directions and they really look nice and rich.

New Package – New Opportunities

As I said, I don’t want to write about all new features in the future release, but what with the whole package. The main idea is to stop to implement ERP and/or CRM; but to continue to implement full business solution. This is what clients need; they don’t care what part of system it is, the just need to solve their problems and their requirements. And as the new business solution, we will have Dynamics 365 as business solution who cover most of the potential client’s needs. That means we will not sell e.g. ERP, but solution. In this solution we will see what real requirements client has and implement adequate Apps with adequate level of features. Price will depend of this, but we will don’t know prices, because of lot of changes. By my opinion, very important is that now we can combine Apps from ex Business Edition and ex Enterprise Edition. With this we will have more agility in implementation process. And of course, all of this will be integrated with Common Data Service. And even better, we can use CDS for our integrations. We can use not only Dynamics 365 Apps, but also PowerApps, Flow, Office 365, Power BI, 3th party Apps… as the same business environment.

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Conclusion

The final message is by my opinion very clear and very positive. For both partners and customers. Don’t afraid, Microsoft will not stop with this amazing product. Rebranding is not canceling. But with new name, we will get still the same powerful product, but with the great new opportunities as well.

I can write probably more, but I think this is more than enough as the first wrap up after two Directions. Future of our product is a clear.