Preface

Preface

Implementing Dynamics NAV doesn't just mean installing the software. In the same manner, developing Dynamics NAV needs more than C/AL programming skills.

We first started working as Dynamics NAV programmers for a partner, but were assigned in-house work for one of our customers. We were lucky for many reasons. We gained experience due to being surrounded by end users, therefore getting to know their problems and the business needs behind each development. We were also very lucky with the customer's project leader with whom we had to work with. He is a person who likes to do things right. A working development was not enough, he also wanted everything to be easy to maintain, easy to scale, and easy to learn for end users.

In fact, all implementations and developments should follow these rules. But we all need mentoring to reach these goals. He gave us the mentoring we needed, and he also allowed us to take our time to learn how to do things right.

Soon we jumped to performing full implementations, such as consulting, analysis, development, migration, training, deployment, and support. When working on other areas, we went with the philosophy of doing things right as it was the only way to deliver true value on each implementation.

This book has been written to give you the mentoring everyone deserves.

Also, do not forget that for a Dynamics NAV consultant, it is not enough to have knowledge of the product and how to implement it. A Dynamics NAV consultant also needs deep knowledge of business workflows. We recommend you to train yourself in accounting, taxation, supply chain, logistics, manufacturing, or any other business area if you want to become a good Dynamics NAV consultant. This book is about Dynamics NAV 2013 and how to implement it, explained with the experience of several years of implementing Dynamics NAV.

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Introducing Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013, introduces you to what an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is and what you can expect from Dynamics NAV. It introduces all the functional areas found in Dynamics NAV 2013 and the different environments available, such as the Windows client, the web client, the SharePoint framework, or web services. For the nostalgic, we have also included details on the history of Dynamics NAV.

Chapter 2, What's New in NAV 2013, gives an overview of the changes made within the application. Dynamics NAV 2013 introduces quite a few new features, that is, new functionalities and tools available for the end user, such as the improvements that can be made on the Windows client or the assembly management feature. The chapter also covers development and IT changes.

Chapter 3, Dynamics NAV – General Considerations, is all about the Dynamics NAV structure, its data model, how information flows, how posting routines work, how users can navigate through their data, why everything leads to accounting, and how data integrity is approached.

Knowing the Dynamics NAV philosophy on how things are done is important for everyone. It is important for users because they need to know how to work with Dynamics NAV and also need to be aware of the consequences of what they do; it is also important for consultants, analysts, and developers because they need to use the same structures and the same way to make information flow when developing new functionalities.

Chapter 4, The Implementation Process, explains the meaning of implementation and covers different methodologies that can be applied while implementing Dynamics NAV. Several people may get involved in an implementation process, each one playing their own role and performing different jobs. This chapter also covers the phases and tasks needed to complete a Dynamics NAV implementation, from presales to deployment.

Chapter 5, Implementation Process at the Customer Side, explains what is expected from the company's team (users, key users, and project leader), and how to deal with the change that the new ERP will make for everyone in the company. For a really successful implementation of Dynamics NAV, the company that NAV has been implemented for has to actively participate on the project.

Chapter 6, Migrating Data, covers the tools that can be used to import data into Dynamics NAV, such as RapidStart services or XMLports. Companies may be new to Dynamics NAV, but they are usually not new companies. They have been working for a while and they have all kinds of data, such as their customers, vendors, items, and accounting information.

This chapter also explains which kind of data is commonly migrated to Dynamics NAV and the strategies used to migrate it. With a step by step example, the chapter conduces you to migrate master data, open entries, historical data, and open documents.

Chapter 7, Upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013, explains the migration process from Versions 3.xx, 4.xx, 5.xx, and 2009. Upgrading to a different version of Dynamics NAV is not a "Next-Next-Finish" process. It is the complete project that has to be planned and executed carefully.

We will explain the steps that have to be followed for all the versions and the tools that are out there to help us get through the whole process.

Chapter 8, Development Considerations, covers the main development considerations that should be taken into account when developing for Dynamics NAV. This includes a deep explanation of the data model principles in Dynamics NAV and how the posting processes are designed. It also includes explanations about where and how to write customized code.

Almost every Dynamics NAV implementation implies development. The customized code must fit inside the application's standard code and it should look as if it was part of the standard. This makes it easier for the user to understand how customized modules work and for partners to support them.

Chapter 9, Functional Changes on Existing Implementations, explains how to handle functional changes in existing implementations with a set of four examples. After working with Dynamics NAV for a while, companies may ask for functional changes on their implementations, such as adding some extra developments or starting to use an existing functionality. Some extra things have to be taken into account when dealing with such projects.

Chapter 10, Data Analysis and Reporting, provides an overview of the tools available to analyze Dynamics NAV data, both inside and outside the application, such as the use of filters and FlowFilters, statistics, charts, existing reports, analysis views, account schedules, or how to extract data from Dynamics NAV. Data analysis and reporting is an important part of the management of a company.

The chapter also includes a report development section that is meant to understand reports anatomy, to show how to define your dataset, and to show how the visual layout is designed.

Chapter 11, Debugging, covers debugging in Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 introduces a brand new debugger. Debugging will no longer be a painful task in Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Conditional breakpoints, debug other user sessions, and debug C/AL code in the RTC client instead of incomprehensible C# code. All these new features will convert the debugging experience into a happy experience.

Chapter 12, The Query Object, focuses on this new application object. Although not yet, queries are meant to be "The Microsoft Dynamics NAV reading data object" in the future (notice the capital letter in the word "The"), so you better get familiar with it as soon as possible.

In this chapter you will learn what queries are and what you can expect from them, how to define a query and where to use them.

Chapter 13, Applications Included in Dynamics NAV, will explain what Jet Reports Express and Zetadocs Express are meant for, and how to install and configure them to work together with Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013. These are free versions of third-party applications recommended by Microsoft and compatible with standard versions of Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

What you need for this book

To successfully follow the examples in this book, you will need to install Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013.

Who this book is for

This book is meant for Dynamics NAV implementation consultants, project managers, and developers who want to get a deeper view of what Dynamics NAV 2013 can offer.

It is also meant for Dynamics NAV developers who want to learn more about the whole application.

And finally, this book may be useful to IT managers of all kinds of companies that are considering the implementation of Dynamics NAV 2013 in their organizations, to fully understand what to expect and how to accomplish it.

Conventions

In this book, you will find a number of styles of text that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles, and an explanation of their meaning.

Code words in text are shown as follows: "The Customer table is the master data table for the Sales & Marketing area"

New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, in menus or dialog boxes for example, appear in the text like this: "not all items in the Navigate tab are secondary master data".

Note

Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.

Tip

Tips and tricks appear like this.

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