Long time passed since my last blog article and many things happened. We have bought new flat (which we are now preparing for us to move there), I have lot of work with our developers to make the development more smooth and more and more…
But today is big day for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013, because new release (R2) is right now presented to public on Directions EMEA. Because that, NDA is dropped and I want to show you the main changes which it brings. And some of them are not only some “facelifts”.
New and modified features of NAV 2013 R2
What is it? It is feature which allows you to separate the Business logic into separate database on SQL and apply it to more data databases (e.g. each for customer). It means you maintain one set of objects, but you are using them for multiple databases. And these databases are accessible through one or more NAV Servers (one NAV Server can now work with multiple databases). This feature is mainly for hosting partners which can now serve many customers in separate databases with much less effort. E.g. upgrade of the data database is done “just” b moving the database from one tenancy to another. Of course, there are many technical issues with this separated business logic from the data (some data are still part of the business logic database –mainly the system wide settings etc.) like changing table definition, because this change must be done in many databases which can take time (and some data databases could be off-line during this change) and thus this change is done off-line by the engine in background.
Of course, you can still use the NAV 2013 R2 as you are used to, as one SQL database. Who need that, can use it. But I think, not many partners will start use the multitenancy in near future.
To solve problems with accessing on-line help from web client, Microsoft added the Help Server component into the product. During install of NAV you can install it to your IIS server. It will include all what is part of the on-line help in older versions as plain HTML pages with some engine around (search, jump list…). Partners can modify and extend the help with their own pages as they are used to, but now you do not need to update the local help on all clients. Same help is accessed from Windows client and from web client.
The URL of the help server is entered when installing clients (in web.config of the web client and in the local config of each Windows client), thus do not forget to enter correct URL and use e.g. public URL when the client will be used outside your local network (and you need to publish the help server for such an users).
On-line document storage integration
NAV 2013 R2 is prepared for integrations with e.g. Office 365 service. You can use these services to store your documents and link them into NAV or Export to Excel using the Office 365.
OData protocol is now writable, thus external applications could use this protocol to write into NAV in easy way.
Dynamic flat file XMLPort
XMLPort used as replacement for old dataport (importing/exporting flat files) have new features which allows developers to create more dynamic import/export. Last field in XMLPort could be set as “Unbound” (you do not know how many fields will be there) and trigger is fired for each column, until developer calls currXMLport.BREAKUNBOUND. Thus generic import export functions could be done and this feature is used in the new Banking module in NAV 2013 R2 for importing the Bank statements and exporting Bank payments.
You can change the field/record/table separator, field delimiter and encoding for the XMLPort in run-time through new properties.
Modern style UI
Of course, the UI of both clients (web and windows) was re-designed to match the Microsoft Modern Style. The design is now much simpler. If you like it or not, it is on you…
Extended Web client
The web client is now much better. It could include charts now and you can extend it by add-ins written in JScript. You can use the on-line help thanks to Help Server. Only small tip: if you want to see help topic for field, keep cursor over the field label until the hint is displayed and the cursor changes to cursor with question mark.
New C/AL commands and properties
- GetURL – create the URL for specific client, company, object and record
- TENANTID – ID of the Tenant under which you are running
- COPYCOMPANY – you can copy company from one name to another from C/AL
- Report-PreviewMode property – you can select which layout is default for preview (default or Print Layout)
Developers can now use Report Builder to design the layout for report. This could be enabled in the Options of the Development Environment. It means no Visual Studio is needed to design the reports.
And I think that there are many things I not mentioned. I expect that there will be much more info about each new thing i next days on blogs and tweets. I wish you many happy hours with NAV 2013 R2, because I think it is best ERP today!