Back from Copenhagen…

I’m writing this on the plane heading back to Toronto after spending a few days at the Microsoft Development Center in Copenhagen (great building!!). I was participating in a set of meetings around how to wow the Dynamics 365 for Financials customer.

It’s all about the customer experience, or the journey if you will. From the time they select and install an extension, the customer needs to have an experience that makes them want to continue, and makes them want to register and purchase your extension. Let’s face it, first impressions are huge, especially in a SaaS world where choice is king. If a customer needs to jump through hoops to get your extension setup before they can even try it out, chances are they’re going to move on.

While I can’t get into the details as they are yet to be made public, what I can say is that it was great for IndustryBuilt Software Corp. to be included in the select group of partners that were chosen to participate alongside some key Microsoft resources, in order to help define the standards that all partners can (and I hope will!) adopt in order to make their extensions great. A ton of ideas were discussed and everyone came away from the meetings with new information on how to not only improve their own extensions, but ways in which we can create tools and samples that other partners can use. Can’t wait to see all of the final products!

As an added bonus, I spent a bit of time playing with extensions v2, which I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. I even begin converting my existing v1 extension into a v2 extension, and conversion process is slick. There’s always clean up to be done after any conversion tool, but it gets you close! The tool is not available yet so I’m not spilling any beans on it now, but I’ll be working with Microsoft to resolve some of the issues that I did encounter, so perhaps I can share more information later.

That’s it for now, and as I said, more information will come on this when it has been made public, but for now, rest assured there is a strong dedication and commitment from Microsoft on ensuring that whether the customer is new to ERP or they’re a seasoned veteran, their software experience will be fantastic!

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NAV Development Preview – February Update is Here!

If you are a Dynamics NAV developer you should hopefully have heard by now of the upcoming changes to the development environment for building extensions.

If you’ve not heard about this, read about it here. In short…Visual Studio Code! Oh….and if that isn’t enough, we’re getting an in-client visual designer as well!

Unfortunately I’ve not had as much time to play with it as I would have liked. I am hoping to change that in the next few weeks. From what I’ve seen though, I cannot wait to start using it on a daily basis!

The team at Microsoft has been doing a great job delivering updates since the initial preview release in December. Check out the latest release notes here and try it out if you can!

Find Out if an Extension is Installed

EDIT: I’ve just been informed that users will not have access to the “NAV App Installed App” system table in the near future, so while the following will work for a typical NAV 2017 installation, it will not work for a Dynamics 365 extension.

EDIT2: I’ve posted a much better solution here!!

Having already created and published one extension, I am now in the process of creating a second extension, and in some cases, I want my extensions to act differently depending on if the other extension is installed or not. I could easily make each extension dependent on each other so that I know they’re always both installed, but where’s the fun in that!!??

You can do this by using the NAV App Installed App system table (2000000153). This table lists all of the extensions that are installed within the tenant.

Now, before I go further, I will mention that there is a function named IsInstalled in Codeunit 2500 (NavExtensionInstallationMgmt) that you could call, but this function accepts a Package ID, which is different than the Application ID of the extension. I prefer to use the Application ID, as I am in control of what that value is through the extension packaging process, and I like that control. So……because of this, I am not going to use the built-in function.

Here’s what you need to do:

First, create a local function that returns true/false depending on if a given Application ID is installed or not.

LOCAL CheckIfExtensionInstalled(AppID : GUID) : Boolean
EXIT(NAVAppInstalledApp.GET(AppID));

Next, we need to write local functions to return our extension Application IDs. You can get the GUID from the extension manifest file when you build the NAVX file. Repeat this process and create a function for each extension that you want to see if it’s installed.

LOCAL GetExtension1AppID() : GUID
//-- AppID: GUID
EVALUATE(AppID,'e7deb9a9-6727-4157-838e-bcf4a0853942');
EXIT(AppID);

Finally…….create a global function that will check for each extension. We will call this function from throughout our application wherever we need our application to act accordingly.

Extension1IsInstalled() : Boolean
EXIT(CheckIfExtensionInstalled(GetExtension1AppID));

Now, all we need to do is use the functionality in our code, such as the following example:

IF Extension1IsInstalled THEN BEGIN
  //-- do something
END ELSE BEGIN
  //-- do something else
END;

One thing to note, you will probably also need to give your codeunit (or whatever object you added the above functions to) permissions to read the NAV App Installed App table as the average user does not typically have this permission.