Opinion – What will happen in fall with Business Central

As far as I remember, social media around Business Central/NAV(ision) has never been as quiet as in the last months.

There is nothing from the MVP’s anymore and it seems the majority of partners are in the dark about that’s going on at Microsoft.

While this is true, Microsoft is updating the GitHub with the new AL foundation periodically with new code but without explaining the strategy. (https://github.com/microsoft/ALAppExtensions)

In fall, Microsoft will release the first Business Central without C/Side and refactored AL and because of that the shipping of daily insider builds has been blocked for a few months.

In the “old days” Microsoft would have code freeze before summer vacation and partners would get a build (DVD) which was very close to what Microsoft would ship at Directions.

Now there is nothing, except the GitHub without any guidelines on how to use it.

I’ve seen speculation that foundation will be dozens of small extensions, but I think this is a false rumour. My expectation is that each BC install will have three extensions.

Foundation

This is what you see on GitHub today. Most of which is stuff that should probably be part of the AL programming language such as TempBlob and Excel Buffer. Things NUGET offers for DotNET.

Application

This is what we have today as General Ledger, Inventory, Sales & Purchase, Jobs, Manufacturing etc.

This will be based on Foundation, but not broken up into smaller extensions even though that would be my preferred choice. Microsoft should have started that years ago and now they simply lack the time and skills. They fired most of the functional folks years ago in favor of a large platform and UI team.

This will lead to much rewrite of code, but not as much as most think.

After this I hope and expect that the design of the Application will be frozen since Microsoft cannot expect their partners to continuously refactor their code. We simply don’t have the resources to do that. Most partners don’t even have automated testing in place and refactoring is too expensive.

Large partners can write their own Application on top of Foundation allowing them to be on AppSource without Microsoft having to add half a million events for each business case.

Localizations

This is probably the coolest part if Microsoft can pull it off. Each localization will be an extension on top of Foundation and Application

Speculation & Opinion

I’m writing this in order to start a discussion and get some feedback what others expect. The information in this blog post is in no way confirmed by Microsoft.

8 thoughts on “Opinion – What will happen in fall with Business Central

  1. Pingback: Opinion – What will happen in fall with Business Central - 365 Community

  2. davmac1

    I don’t see how localizations will work without performance problems unless they either change how table extensions work with keys or move everything to related tables – which will be cumbersome unless they change pages to work with multiple tables (easily) on the same page.
    They had a couple of sessions at Directions NA about performance and the Microsoft recommendation was to move to related tables.
    If they break the base into even more extensions, then shared tables will have lots of extensions or related tables.
    What are your views about table extensions?

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    1. Mark Brummel Post author

      I guess I would tend to agree with Microsoft. If the fields you add to a table are so complex that they require cross table indexes you need to review your design. But my opinion might change if you have a valid business case.

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      1. Hans H. Fiddelke

        In my opinion one business case would be dealing with associatons on sales and purchases.
        This means f.e.your customers are part of an association, which handles payments for it’s partners. (Association is not the Bill-to, because we want to see the sales on the real customers)
        On the purchase we are part of an association, and some of our vendors are payed by the association, and we have to pay the vendors invoices to the association.
        So this requires a new field “Association No.” in the ledger entries. If you want an overview which item is sold how often to an association, you need a key on “Item No.” and “Association No.” on “Item Ledger Entry” and /or “Value Entry” especialy if your “Value Entry”- table has a size of 45 GB in NAV 5.0.

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      2. Hans H. Fiddelke

        A valid business case might be something like association handling.
        This means that payments are handled by a central institution for a group of customers or vendors. The sales or purchases are handled by the customers or vendors because we want to see the business volume on them, not on a Bill-to or Pay-To. This requires that the association is stored with every document and also with “Cust. Ledger”, “Vendor Ledger”,”Item Ledger” and “Value Entry” because association member ship may change or orders are not handled via association.
        So if you want to know the quantity or amounts you have bought or sold of a specific item to or from association members, you need a key on “Item No.” and “Association No.” if this should be performant, espcialy if your “Value Entry”- Table has a size of 45 GB.

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  3. James Crowter

    The MVP’s are quiet because either it’s old news (the conversion to AL was announced ages ago now) or they are still under NDA because it’s not close enough to finished. Like most development projects the amount of work involved is hard to judge until it’s done regardless of what you think finished actually is. Most in our community still have lots to do with AL and refactoring so I for one don’t want to delay that step by introducing more change before its ready.

    It’s easy to be critical of what the BC team haven’t done but when you look at what they have given us in the last four years, I think its remarkable progress. Given they are outside mainstream Microsoft and arguably have a VP they report to who doesn;’t care about them. I think they have overachieved.

    James Phillips should be the object of your ire. He seems to care about all the other D365 products except Business Central. He doesn’t get the SMB market and cannot see its potential is equal than the enterprise. If we collectively could turn that around then Microsoft has the funds to make BC the product we all want it to be sooner rather than later.

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  4. Miklos Hollender

    Mark, I’d like to ask you a “philosophical”. I think since day 1 the big dilemma of Navision has always been customizations vs. add-ons. Add-ons have many advantages from lower price to better tested functionality, but they mean compromises. Customizations have the advantage of having it exactly as the customer wants it. My impression is that cultures, countries differ in this regard. Denmark was always add-on oriented, the UK always customization-oriented. For example, it is similar to how in some countries there are standard door sizes for houses but in the UK Permadoor makes custom-sized doors for every house. It is standardization culture vs. bespoke culture.

    However. I can also see that in the last maybe 10 years things generally moved in the direction of add-ons, not customizations. It seems now when you talk about development, or programming, you automatically seem to mean add-ons, not customizations. Is it because the Netherlands is also a more of a standardization-oriented rather than bespoke-oriented culture, or because there is really a certain history of the NAV field in the last 10 years moving in this direction? If yes, could you summarize the history of it a bit? Do you remember key points when partner companies or MVPs who were customization-oriented, suddenly accepted a focus on add-ons?

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    1. Hans H. Fiddelke

      In my opinion both addons an customisations are needed.
      Addons add functionality, like online business, payment services, logistics,…
      Customisations in my opinion are modifcations which allow faster/easier access to functions or combine functionalities under one action.
      Depending on business case you may need addons to implement functions that are not available in the standard. If you have to check an information serveral times a day, or you have to do execute a group of actions 100 times a day, you may require easy access and probaly automatisms that allow you to spent your time with your business, not with oprating your ERP.

      And here is the real difference. Small installations with less transcations need only addons for their business. Larger installations with many identical transactions need both addons and customisations to save time.(f.e. answering 5 times a day “yes” to the question on leaving an unposted order is not so diffcult. If you have to do this 100 times a day, you probably would hang the developer, who did this, on the next tree 😉 )

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