Category Archives: Best practices

OnAfter table event subscriber patterns and antipatterns

The purpose of events is to simplify business logic customization while not impeding upgradeability and general extensibility. However, there is one particular class of events that may cause troubles: OnAfter* table events. There are four of them: OnAfterInsert, OnAfterModify, OnAfterDelete, and OnAfterRename.

If you need them, you must be careful.

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A few thoughts around assembly naming and versioning for NAV

Are you developing .NET assemblies intended to be used from C/AL? If so, then you must have realized that keeping proper track of them and managing them on the server (or client, in case you still do that) is not a simple affair.

Assemblies in .NET are identified through their fully qualified name, and that’s how NAV tells one assembly from another, as well. Fully qualified name contains the assembly name, version, public key token, and culture information. A good practice in .NET development is that when you update assembly’s functionality, you also version that assembly up, essentially resulting in a completely new assembly, which doesn’t have the same fully qualified name as the older version did.

However, this kind of change is a breaking change. In .NET, it’s not all that breaking – you simply reference the new version and this applies to whole project. Or whole solution, depending on how you configure the MSBuild behavior.

But in NAV, it’s a completely different story. Versioning an assembly up is a very breaking change. In NAV, we cannot simply replace a reference once, and then have it apply to the whole database. Unfortunately, we have to update a reference on every single variable, and if you ever had to do it, chances are you don’t keep any happy memories about this experience.

That’s why NAV developers, when working in .NET, prefer not versioning up. And that’s wrong.

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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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Transaction Integrity with Connected Systems

Broken pencilWith .NET Interoperability around, it’s very likely you’ll be synchronously calling external web services from C/AL, to exchange data. I won’t go into discussing whether or not this kind of architecture is good (my own position is that it isn’t), you may end up having situations where your C/AL code simply makes a synchronous call to external systems, such as web services.

Any external call is an expected point of failure. An important question you must always have in mind when calling external functions is transaction integrity. When writing code that targets only NAV, the structure of code is largely irrelevant, as long as you are not using COMMITs (which is another thing you should avoid at all costs). However, as soon as you introduce external calls, the structure becomes critically relevant. Critically relevant.

I’ve talked about this during my 2012 NAV TechDays session, and I promised I’d blog about it – so, here it goes.

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SQL Server Configuration Recommendations for Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog has just published a mega-useful post about recommendations for configuring Microsoft SQL Server for optimum Microsoft Dynamics NAV Performance. If you haven’t yet, you should check it here.

The blog post delivers a PDF document summarizing certain important parameters, configuration settings and suggestions for improving and maintaining a speedy SQL Server for your NAV installation. The recommendations have been written for x64 version of SQL Server 2005 SP3, SQL Server 2008 SP1 and SQL Server 2008 R2. The document was compiled by Michael De Voe, a Senior Premier Field Engineer at Microsoft specializing in performance, scalability, infrastructure and high-availability for in NAV and AX.