Reflections on NAV TechDays 2012
NAV Techdays 2012 conference was held on Sep 27-28 in Antwerp, Belgium. Great technical event and great overall experience. Here are some afterthoughts on it, as reflected by Ivars Kalnins, our managing partner.
During the opening keynote I finally fulfilled my dream on seeing the person (or at least one of) behind the original implementation of Navision, Michael Nielsen. The most important thing he said in my view - the new NAV version 2013 is becoming his favorite version. To me, that single sentence meant more than all the rest NAV 2013 coverage in the conference, and all Microsoft marketing combined. Which is just great, confidence boosted.
Sort of dissapointed on the session related to running NAV on Azure. Again, big buzz about "NAV 2013 can run on Azure", but nothing exciting from the technology perspective. Click-Once installers are surely nice, but that has been around for some years now, and that's about it. Apart from that, we are welcome to run NAV on virtual machines on the Azure (when they arrive), but c'mon, how is that different from traditional hosting? Mostly depends on what flexibility can Azure VMs offer, and this is something we need to figure out yet.
As a side note, cloud-cloud-cloud buzzing everywhere. Not during the sessions in fact, but definitely among the people during the breaks. Again, good inspiration for the future business, as we in Select Solutions are feeling kind of a few years ahead of market in technology terms. We are offering our solutions in the cloud already, and excellently supporting the hybrid model (NAV on-premise and e-commerce on the cloud) at present.
As expected, Partner-Ready-Software guys made the day with the real hands-on stuff combined with a good show. In fact, the best show in the event (apart from the closing keynote show by Alex Riley on superbrands, but well - that was professional and does not count). Truly a pleasure to watch the guys on stage, especially during the tandem of Gary speaking and Eric coding. You know a brilliant developer when you see one in action. On the other hand, I don't really get the full picture of the PRS concept the guys are evangelizing. They usually start with real (I mean - real!) issues about the ISV/VAR cooperation, challenges with repeatable/packaged solutions, transitioning to app-style ERP etc. (see this download), but then they somehow switch to structuring the code and finish there. I don't object a well made software can be the way to solve the issues they highlight, but hey, that's just a small part of the whole deal. What I really wish these guys would do - create a PRS badge for ISV solutions or NAV Add-ons, something alike the current CfMD from Microsoft, but really based on their promoted criteria - repeatable, well structured, and as the result - partner friendly. That would serve the partner channel just great.
As for the second day - good news all-round, except...*
Microsoft have put the foot in the door with the NAV Web Client. Unfortunately, it is licensed in the same way as the full Windows Client while being inferior in numerous ways. That's understandable by now, and it will find it's applications sooner or later. Somewhat hard to envision when there would by any mass adoption for it, knowing the situation with general browser feature and compatibility development, but the time will come. As it will come for the cloud.
OData is great, no comments whatsoever. And the Query object is great. But let me be somewhat cautious in general - Dynamics NAV has always been about the speed of development, and not the speed of the application itself. Hope you see where I'm heading. Adding complexity or slowing down NAV development is a risky thing to do. To an even greater exent the same applies to the testability features, which were of course well covered during the NAV TechDays too.
As PRS made the first day, Jörg Stryk made the second day with a good show related to blocks/deadlocks. Great presenter, and even some practical takeaways for us, the hardcore guys doing data replication with NAV.
Once again, thank you Luc Van Dyck and Mibuso for the event, looking forward to meet you next year.
Special thanks also to Aigars Lapiņš (Elva Baltic) and Peter Pavuk (Metaphorix Ltd.) for the great company.
And once again, thank you Microsoft for NAV 2013.
* God bless our solutions don't include any reports and we can pretend they don't exist. Until some better times.
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