New book: Building ERP solutions with Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Today is THE DATE!

After 9 months of work, we’re ready to go: my new book Building ERP solutions with Microsoft Dynamics NAV (published by Packt Publishing) it’s officially available (eBook and printed version).

This book covers advanced topics related to implementing real world solutions based on Microsoft Dynamics NAV and external applications. Scope of this book is to describe in a practical way how to extend a Microsoft Dynamics NAV installation to the enterprise world. You will learn how an enterprise distributed architecture with NAV at the core could be implemented to satisfy practical needs and case studies.

The book is based on real world cases for every topic and every industry (sales, retail, manufacturing). Every chapter will guide you in step by step manner on how to efficiently solve a real world technical problem that you can frequently have on an NAV implementation. By the end of the book, developers will have the knowledge on how to efficiently solve certain scenarios and how could be the best architecture to propose to a customer.

This book is NOT a C/AL language programming guide. If this is your scope, on Packt Publishing website you can find many other great books strictly related to this topic. This book is for solution’s architects and advanced NAV developers. Here you will find:

  • All about how to use Microsoft Dynamics NAV web services in an advanced way
  • All about modern Microsoft Dynamics NAV integration with external applications
  • All about how to implement enterprise distributed solutions based on Microsoft Dynamics NAV as “the ERP”
  • How to use Microsoft Azure cloud services for implementing scalable Microsoft Dynamics NAV solutions

Every chapter covers a real business scenario and we’ll go from the solution’s design to the final implementation in a step-by-step manner. All will be “practical” and easy to follow.

This is the official outline:

Chapter 1: Introducing Microsoft Dynamics NAV architectures
Chapter 2: Configuring NAV Web Services
Chapter 3: Creating an application using NAV Web Services
Chapter 4: Using NAV web services with Power BI
Chapter 5: Integrating NAV Web Services and External Applications
Chapter 6: Extending NAV pages with Control Addins
Chapter 7: Programming Universal Windows Apps with NAV and devices
Chapter 8: Exploring Microsoft Azure and its services
Chapter 9: Working with Azure App Service and NAV
Chapter 10: Implementing a message based architecture with Azure Service Bus and NAV

Requirements?

Basic knowledge of C/AL language, basic knowledge of C# language. All the other concepts will be explained in the book. We’ll go in-depth also regarding the Microsoft Azure cloud platform and its services.

Writing a technological book is not an easy task. For reaching this goal, I want to mention all the great Packt Publishing staff that has worked with me in these months. A special thanks also for my friend Duilio Tacconi (Microsoft) for his collabouration in this project as a reviewer. Thanks to all guys!

This book is dedicated to a special girl… 🙂

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You can find the book starting from today on the official Packt Publishing website or directly on Amazon website. Have a nice reading!

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New book: Building ERP solutions with Microsoft Dynamics NAV (ITA version)

Ebbene si… ora è ufficiale e possiamo divulgare al mondo la notizia 🙂

Dopo 9 mesi (praticamente un parto!) di lavoro impegnativo, finalmente ci siamo: il mio libro Building ERP solutions with Microsoft Dynamics NAV (edito da Packt Publishing) da oggi è ufficialmente ordinabile, sia in version eBook che in versione cartacea.

Questo libro è rivolto principalmente a developer / progettisti di soluzioni ERP basate su Microsoft Dynamics NAV ed è nato con un obiettivo principale: insegnare che una soluzione ERP enterprise richiede spesso complesse integrazioni con sistemi esterni ed estensioni del prodotto base e non tutte queste cose vanno risolte utilizzando il linguaggio interno (C/AL). Il C/AL è nato per gestire la logica di busines, fuori dalla “scatola magica” dell’ERP esiste un affascinante mondo di tecnologia che, propriamente conosciuto ed utilizzato, ci permette di costruire soluzioni robuste, affidabili e scalabili.

In questo libro NON troverete una guida al linguaggio C/AL. Per chi è alle prime armi e cerca una guida al linguaggio interno di Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Packt Publishing ha altri ottimi libri in catalogo. Quello che troverete qui è invece:

  • Di tutto e di più su come utilizzare i web services di Microsoft Dynamics NAV in modo avanzato
  • Di tutto e di più su come integrare soluzioni esterne con Microsoft Dynamics NAV
  • Di tutto e di più su come costruire ed implementare soluzioni enterprise distribuite basate su Microsoft Dynamics NAV
  • Come sfruttare servizi cloud (offerti dalla piattaforma Microsoft Azure) per implementare soluzioni Microsoft Dynamics NAV scalabili

Ogni capitolo del libro va a coprire NEL PRATICO uno scenario di business reale (scenario che sicuramente vi troverete a dover gestire in un progetto reale) e viene mostrato passo passo come risolvere il problema in modo efficiente e moderno. Questo libro vuole proprio essere un fedele compagno da avere di fianco a se sulla scrivania quando ci troviamo ad affrontare un problema di integrazione: seguendo i passi descritti, non sbaglierete.

Nel dettaglio, questo è l’indice di ciò che troverete:

Chapter 1: Introducing Microsoft Dynamics NAV architectures
Chapter 2: Configuring NAV Web Services
Chapter 3: Creating an application using NAV Web Services
Chapter 4: Using NAV web services with Power BI
Chapter 5: Integrating NAV Web Services and External Applications
Chapter 6: Extending NAV pages with Control Addins
Chapter 7: Programming Universal Windows Apps with NAV and devices
Chapter 8: Exploring Microsoft Azure and its services
Chapter 9: Working with Azure App Service and NAV
Chapter 10: Implementing a message based architecture with Azure Service Bus and NAV

Prerequisiti?

Conoscenza di base del linguaggio C/AL e del linguaggio C#. Tutto il resto (compresa la piattaforma Microsoft Azure ed i servizi cloud offerti) lo imparerete leggendo.

Scrivere un libro tecnologico non è per nulla facile. Per il compimento di questa “impresa”, voglio ringraziare tutto il fantastico staff di Packt Publishing che mi ha accompagnato in questi mesi di lavoro, voglio ringraziare l’amico Duilio Tacconi (Microsoft) per aver accettato di collaborare al progetto come reviewer ed ovviamente ringrazio me per averci creduto 🙂 La dedica però e tutta per qualcun’altro… 🙂

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Il libro vi aspetta, lo trovate sul sito ufficiale di Packt Publishing o direttamente sul sito di Amazon. Buona lettura!

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Dynamics 365: confusion to the max!

Yesterday Microsoft has announced Dynamics 365, its new approach to cloud-based business Apps.

Here you can find responses to many many questions that comes after the Dynamics 365 announcement.

I totally disagree with this Microsoft’s way to share news, actually there is too much confusion about NAV and Dynamics ERP in the cloud and this is absolutely not good for customers.

Remember only a concept: NAV will remain also an On Premise solution, it’s still the same great product and it has a great roadmap for the future. Madeira or Dynamics 365 ARE NOT NAV!!!

Microsoft Project “Madeira”: my opinion

As many of you already knows, in April Microsoft has released the first public preview of Madeira, their SaaS ERP solution based on NAV and running on the Azure cloud. And also as many of you already knows, actually I was not a great fan of this solution (I’ve always said ACTUALLY 🙂 ).

Let me explain well why this…

This is the “Madeira vs NAV” chart:

NAVvsMadeira

Madeira is not NAV, at least it’s not the NAV that many customers has in mind and it’s not the Microsoft’s ERP that sells so well at least here in Europe.

The pros:

  1. Microsoft is making huge investments on Azure cloud and I think that they should have a completely SaaS solution for the entire Dynamics suite. Dynamics CRM is also online, so why not also an ERP online? This is where Madeira fits the gap. This is the cloud-based ERP offering by Microsoft and I think that Microsoft has done a right step. They must be present on this market!
  2. It’s NAV-based, so no new to reinvent but all is based on a solid platform.

The cons:

  1. Madeira is an ERP inside Office 365. Microsoft has always highlighted the native integration between Office 365, Outlook and Madeira. But unfortunately not all companies are Office-addicted and expecially Outlook-addicted.
  2. I see Madeira as a possible (and suitable) ERP solution only for small companies, where no big customizations are required and where cloud is a chance to cut costs.
  3. Unfortunately, not all ERP markets are the same. Maybe there are places and situations where a standard NAV ERP without (or really few) customizations are ok, but (at least here in Italy) the industry market is really complex, the ERP is the core software for the companies and they want that it suits all aspects of their business (workflow functions, integration with other existing software or machines etc). If you want a real ERP solution with all these aspects in mind, implementing Madeira could be not enough.

Obviously, I’m happy to see a SaaS ERP solution base on NAV, I hope a great future for Madeira but I can’t see it to satisfy a wide range of market now. It’s simply not enough for me…

I’ve placed in Bold the word actually because I think that the industry world (alias big companies) is not ready for Madeira now. In the future things could change (maybe also the cloud culture) and we’ll see what happens. Now I couldn’t recommend Madeira to a customer unless it has few technical requirements or it has a really small budget.

Standard NAV will remain the main proposal for a company that needs a solid ERP system, totally adaptable to its business model. With NAV you can choose for a totally On-Premise solution or an hybrid one (I’m pushing always more to use Azure at least for the database tier) and with NAV you’ve all the power you want for your business now and forever.

 

Microsoft PowerApps: finally!

Today the official announcement of something cool that was in the air from a long time and that closes the gap between Azure App Service and the real world: Microsoft PowerApps.

  

Microsoft has announced its latest application development solution for businesses, to easily create and share apps for iOS, Android and Windows, in an easy-to-use ‘Office-like’ suite. Microsoft PowerApps has been designed for the business market, and speeds up application creation and distribution via a range of specialist tools.

Microsoft PowerApps allows businesses to integrate existing services and systems into applications, without the need for highly-skilled programmers. Multiple cloud and in-house data sources can be integrated with apps created using the service, taking advantage of dispersed company data. This can streamline data from multiple systems, into a single PowerApp solution.

As clearly explained today by Scott Hanselman:

PowerApps is the business application creation side. Think of it as a new member of the Office Family. It’s not a Visual Studio thing. Apps made with PowerApps are sharable with in your organization as easy as sharing documents and they run on Windows, Android, and iOS. A business user could build a new workflow app and share it with everyone. They can auth that new app against APIs like Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, Dropbox, Twitter, Google Drive, and OneDrive. For example, my example app takes photos of the bricks and puts the result in Azure Storage, but I could just as easily drop them in Google Drive or OneDrive.

However, for Visual Studio developers, or any developer, you still use the language of your choice (C#, F#, node.js, PHP, etc) and write Web APIs and Apps and host them in Azure App Service as you always have. But, if you want, those APIs can live in a new gallery that is specific to your organization so that anyone in your org (developer or business user alike) can use in their applications.

I think that you can easily imagine the power and the opportunities. So cool!

.NET Core and ASP.NET 5 RC available for production

Exciting news are coming from Connect() 2015 event. All is well summarized here, but I want to put in evidence a revolutionary news:

.NET Core and ASP.NET 5 are now RC. They are ready for you to start building web apps and services with ASP.NET 5. You can build apps and services that scale, that work on-premise and in the Cloud and that can be run on Windows, Linux and OS X. .NET apps are portable. You can take an app running on Windows and move it to Linux, or vice-versa, without code modification.

I’m sure that you can you imagine how this is so cool…