Directions EMEA day 1

Ok, it is late and I am tired. But I will pack the day into few sentences:

  • Page preview in page designer – interactive preview of the page directly in C/SIDE, clicking on the object in the page select the corresponding line in the designer or you can open properties for the object (action/field)
  • “Find” function is back – you can again instantly search for specific data in the actual column
  • Variable filters – when filtering in the RTC, you can use “variables” like “%mycust”, which will be “expanded” to e.g. “10000|20000|300000” based on your customer selection. This replacement and expansion is handled with special codeunit in NAV, thus you can add own variables (some other default are already there like “%today”). Saving view with this variable in filter will save the filter including the variable, thus by changing the data will have effect to the saved view (each time when opening the view the variable is replaced with the values)
  • New tool to quickly setup the new company (something like RIM). Partners could add own packages, which will add new settings.
  • Cloud-RTC-debugger  — all is working together.
  • Query and OData – new way how to get the data from NAV to outside and consume them, e.g. in PowerPivot. Query generate complex SELECT statement on SQL with possible JOINS, GROUP BY and preselected set of fields. This could be consumed through OData protocol (something like RSS feed) which could be filtered.
  • New version of NAV should be released ONCE per YEAR! – partners needs really think about this and how to keep all customers up-to-date!

And short list from Waldo’s presentation:

  • Remote Desktop Manager
  • smtp4dev (www.nav-magno.be)
  • Codegenius
  • Mantis bug tracker
  • iFacto Revision

Ok, going into bed. Regarding details, I think more blog articles are needed, but right now, I still do not know how deeply I can go and not hit the NDA… you need to wait for the correct time.

Garbage Collector in NAV 2009

Today I learned one new thing:

Garbage collector in NAV 2009 is set to DISABLED by default. Do not ask me what does it mean and why it is disabled. I do not know. Regardless the value DISABLED, this settings just means that Workstation mode is used for GC. Microsoft NAV team have learned, that by enabling it, you can speed up the NAV Server! Are you asking how you can enable it? It is easy, you need only to add this into the Microsoft.Dynamics.NAV.Server.exe.config file:

<configuration>
   <runtime>
      <gcServer enabled=”true”/>
   </runtime>
</configuration>

It is standard Dot.NET config parameter. What I have noticed when I just googled this parameter, that it could (and probably would) raise memory consumption of the process. Of course, because if I understand it correctly, it will not release the memory of created object immediately, after the object is not used anymore, but only when the GC is started (e.g. there is no enough free memory or max time between runs was hit). But this “not releasing” leads to better performance. But, again, this is just my understanding of the problem. I can be wrong. Based on the comment from Per, the difference is, that Server GC will be used instead workstation GC, which means separate threads on highest priority for the GC, instead running GC in context of user thread. And this means using all available CPU cores etc. and this leads to better performance when doing GC, because during GC run the threads are suspended. But still, that the performance is better, is true.

Please, post into comments your experience with this setting.

I want to thank to Michael Nielsen for this info…

 

(Edited 7:08 CET 25.4.2012)

Possible new way to install NAV 2013

Just now, I am in Rome, waiting for tomorrow, when Directions EMEA 2012 begins. Whole Directions will be somehow connected to NAV 2013, and it seems that it will be beginning of blog articles about NAV 2013 and new technologies/functions inside it.

 

ClickOnce

First new feature you can use in connection with 2013 is ClickOnce install. This way of installing and distributing of applications exists since .NET 2. But it was not possible to use it for previous versions of NAV. Now, with upcomming NAV 2013, partners could prepare installations for their customers, which includes all what is needed, like addon libraries and custom client settings.

How it works?

Partner prepares the installation (set of easy steps, which could be automatized – it is out of scope of this article right now), publish it somewhere and send the URL to the customer. Customer just by opening this URL will install the RTC, which will be preconfigured e.g. to connect to his NAV server. Partner than can update the installation e.g. by newer version of addon. This update is automatically installed into the customer’s computer when he click the NAV icon. It means much less effort to keep all customer’s clients up-to-date, no problems with distributing the addons. This is very good in days, when it depends on which build is using each customer and user. On user’s computer there could be more versions/variants of the app installed side by side, each with own config.

Limits

But! There are some limits for this feature in connection with NAV:

  • Prerequisites are not automatically installed
  • The install process have no access to the registry (e.g. when addin installation needs something to write there)
  • You cannot run the client.exe directly from outside (ClickOnce is using different way to run the app to check for the updates first etc.) and thus you cannot pass runtime parameters to the client
  • You cannot use the URLs to run the client
  • It is possible to deploy only RTC this way

For me, it is something similar to App-V technology, but much more easy to create the installation and you do not need any special client to be able to use it (and any special server). But the “installed” app is somehow “encapsulated” and thus not working as standard client installed on the PC.

Still, it is worth it for partners, which are deploying e.g. cloud solutions or simple solutions, where these features are not used.

I recommend to read more about ClickOnce e.g. here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/t71a733d.aspx

For using ClickOnce with NAV, there will be tools distributed together with NAV 2013 to make the process as easy as possible.

I hope, that future will drop the limits in some way, because it will be cool to have this way together with possibility to install the dev. environment and possibility to use links to run the client.