NAV TechDays 2015 wrap up

Another NAV TechDays is over, and this one was the best so far. 950 people from all over the world all passionate about NAV and technology and eager to learn and share and discuss the latest in NAV. It was amazing, Luc did a great job again, and I am looking forward to the next year, hoping this conference makes it beyond 1000 attendees.

This year I have delivered a yet another “Black Belt” session named “Client Add-ins Black Belt: bringing .NET and JavaScript together” and as promised, I deliver the session material here on my blog.

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Out-of-transaction database writes

Ancient wisdom goes that you cannot have more than one write transaction going on at the same time in a single session in NAV.

This is absolutely true, in and out.

Some features, like Activity Log, will leave you wanting to be able to write to the database outside of the normally running transaction.

Wouldn’t it just be beautiful if you could:

  • Write to the database, and then persist the change to the database even if an error happens during the transaction? (without cough! TryFunction, cough! cough!);
  • Not cause any locks to remain at the target table for any longer than it takes to do the write itself, without having to call COMMIT on your “regular” transaction; and
  • Not use temporary tables, because a system error (however unlikely) could cause the data to not be persisted if crash happens before temporary table is flushed to the physical one.

Well, in fact, you can do this.

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Activity Log or Activity Lock pattern?

Today at NAV TechDays 2015 in Antwerp, I attended a presentation by Nikola Kukrika, Ciprian Iordache, and Gary Winter, at which Ciprian presented a new design pattern based on a new feature in NAV 2016: Activity Log.

In a nutshell, this new feature, and thus the design pattern, aim at helping trace issues and facilitate troubleshooting by leaving information in the database about what was done, by whom, if it failed, and if it did, why.

All pretty and nice, but – as Ciprian pointed out – there is a bad aspect about it: when an error happens, and everything is rolled back – the activity entry is rolled back together with everything else. Nikola later explained how this could be solved through writing into temporary tables, but this either requires redesign by Microsoft or special coding techniques by you.

However, there is a bigger caveat than this. Non-persisting data in case of errors is a problem, but the bigger problem lies elsewhere. Let me explain that bigger problem here, and then give a silver-bullet solution to solve it all.

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Deploying control add-ins during development in NAV 2016

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 brings many new features, one of which is a set of PowerShell cmdlets to manage add-ins. These are:

While these cmdlets are certainly useful for installation and deployment, I find them even more useful during development. When I blogged about deploying resource files automatically during development some months ago, I showed how you could use PowerShell during build process in Visual Studio to invoke a codeunit that registers control add-ins. Now, in NAV 2016, these tasks are a lot simpler with these new cmdlets.

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Sorting out the DLL hell, Part 3: The Code

[Update, February 8, 2016: there is a new version of code from this post. Please check]

Okay here we go. In this post I deliver the promised code that handles automatic deployment of all your assemblies to client and server, as needed.

For any of you who haven’t read the last two posts, I am talking about automatically deploying .NET assemblies to clients and server, from the database, on demand, at runtime.

This will be heavy on code, so fasten your seatbelt and brace for impact.

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