Tag Archives: null

Three Whys about .NET Interoperability

Once upon a time, a smart bloke named Saikichi Toyoda came up with a 5 Whys troubleshooting technique. It postulates that you only need to ask “why” five times to get to the root cause of any problem in a cause-and-effect sequence.

However, with .NET Interoperability in Microsoft Dynamics NAV (pick your version here), I’ve only had to ask “why” three times today, and unfortunately I could not get to the root cause, except – poor design decisions.

It all has to do with a simple .NET class: System.DBNull. The first “why” is simple: why is there no support for fields on .NET types. The second “why” is even simpler: why don’t we have a null constant in C/AL. And the last “why” downright falls into the “what the heck” category: why did somebody think it was a smart idea to replace DBNull value with null.

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Top 10 things I miss in .NET Interoperability in NAV 2013

If you ask me what the top addition to the NAV technology stack over the past few years is – it’s .NET interoperability. A lot of folks, maybe you as well, would disagree, and say it’s Web services. They are important. But if you are a NAV developer, Web services don’t make your life any easier. You are programming for Web services when your requirements tell you so, but that’s it. You don’t experience those moments of truth, when it dawns on you, when you go eureka, slap your forehead and say: now this is something I solve with Web services! Not quite.

But with .NET interoperability, it’s a different story. If you know how to harness its power, there is no single project you’ll ever want to go without using .NET. It opens the door to the most powerful development framework for Windows, and it makes many impossible things possible, in pure C/AL.

There are two kinds of things in this world. Those that .NET Interoperability can do, and those it can’t. Microsoft has been steadily improving it since the initial release in 2009 R2. However, there is still much to be desired. Those small things that you cut in C# in seconds, and twist your brain inside out for hours before you realize you can’t do it in C/AL. Some of them may be in a backlog somewhere in Vedbæk, but I don’t know that, so I decided to compile a list of top 10 things I believe C/SIDE should support, and it doesn’t.

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