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To say there is a lot going on in the world of Dynamics NAV would be an understatement. However, it would also be a moot point as there is always a lot going on in the NAV world. However, now more than ever, I am urging a refactoring to events movement. And, not to incite panic, but I would do it now before it is too late and you are forced to do it.
In the spring of 2018, NAV Cloud will be released. The name is yet to be determined. NAV2018R2, Tenerife, Navision, it does not matter. The important point here is that in this version of NAV, C/AL will be an option, but will eventually go away completely and AL will be the code base. Visual Studio (VS) will be the development environment and base NAV code will be locked down completely. (Note, this is yet to be confirmed and in fact will not be the case in the near future.) In the interim, it seems highly likely that we will be able to code in both AL and C/AL against the same code base.
In addition, in VS, you develop against what MS is calling a "package." It is essentially your base NAV/Addon code all packaged up as a set of assemblies and available in Visual Studio. It is still unclear to me now, but releases will be extensions for sure. I am just not sure about the release strategy for custom extensions. Will each customer have one extension of hundreds? We will see. It may be personal preference.
The idea of a “package” and “locked down code” was disturbing to us at ArcherPoint. Therefore, I submitted a ticket to MS. They do state, "NAV will not be locked", but then later state "likely including the rules you mention not to modify core parts of NAV except via extensions." Those statements are up for interpretation as far as I can tell. I am waiting for clarification.
"Of course things can change, but at least currently this is the status: we will continue to have the current development environment, and partners will continue to be welcome to build vertical solutions and customizations as they have so far. The environment may change, especially the current development client as this is based on the old NAV client, but then the same features will just move into another environment, and NAV will not be locked as far as customizations are concerned.
What will change is that we will have new offerings over time. Hosting NAV in the cloud opens up for new economies of scale, and this is where we will have a range of options, from individualized customized solution for a specific customer, to standard-solutions that will fit lots of customers, and the option to choose of course will decide at what price we can sell.
So as a partner you can stay with the current model. Or set up your own hosting solution on Azure, and you will still have full control. Or, if you go with some of the new offerings where MS hosts all or part of the platform/infrastructure, and then take the restrictions and options that come with this, likely including the rules you mention not to modify core parts of NAV except via extensions. On the other hand, this method brings economies of scale, so opens up new opportunities and new markets.”
The only thing that I can say for sure is that there will be new options and new choices to make, but this will more be business choices than tech choices, and at least for now there are no plans to take away any options including the option where you customize NAV for one specific customer. Only to introduce new options.
More from Microsoft: "There are no plans to stop partners from modifying NAV. But you can see it as an option to transform gradually and get your developers used to using Extensions when possible, which will also have a side effect of making upgrades easier. So it should be more of a journey than a hard point in time when you must move from one way of doing things to another."
Maybe things will not be changing as radically as we had feared. Nevertheless, I would still say it is better to refactor to events sooner rather than later.
If you are interested in NAV development, be sure to see our collection of NAV Development Blogs.
Read more "How To" blogs from ArcherPoint for practical advice on using Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
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