Thoughts on Directions NA 2017

I’m back home after spending some time at Directions NA 2017. It was…..crazy and amazing! It’s always a fun and informative conference, and this year definitely did not disappoint.

I’m not going to focus on ‘the crazy’, as I’m sure you’ve probably seen countless other posts about it already. 🙂

Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’. Is it the final name? No. Is the NAV name being dropped? Sounds like it.

Dynamics 365 Tenerife: it’s cloud; it’s on-premise; it’s really freakin’ cool!

One more thing. No matter if you are a coder, an implementer, a sales person, or a little bit of everything, things are changing, and they’re changing FAST. Scary? Of course…..change always is, but I have 100% confidence that Microsoft’s direction is the right direction to go. We have been living in an online world for a number of years. No longer is the message “the cloud is coming”. The message is now “the cloud is here”. Hopefully you’ve been moving to the cloud already. If not, you are behind the times; it’s time to get your products to the cloud ASAP!

For developers, you have to put back on your learning hat and if you’ve not already started, begin looking at extension development using the new development tools, namely Visual Studio Code. It’s a new tool, but not “really” a new language. C/AL is a great language, so why would Microsoft do away with it? Consider the new AL language as ‘C/AL 2.0’ if you want. Same syntax, plus a load of new features that makes development even faster than it was in C/Side. With built in object types to connect to web services or process xml data, to new string builder commands, the development platform has been improved to an absolutely amazing level…….and that’s not even considering all of the goodies that Visual Studio Code brings us. Customize your development tool to however you like using a massive library of different extensions. Visual Studio Code has quickly become my go-to tool for much more than AL coding.

There’s so many cool things that need to be talked about in detail. The Microsoft Graph API that is being developed for the Dynamics 365 platform is something I want to spend some time with in the near future. Finally having a documented common set of APIs is something that I think is going to make our lives as developers extremely better…….and yes, the APIs work on premise too. 🙂

So many things to learn outside of what we’d typically refer to as the “NAV system”. Case in point, I spoke at a session regarding test drives on AppSource, which up until 2 weeks ago, was a completely foreign topic that I knew nothing about, and never thought I’d need to know anything about. Turns out though, with minimal development work, it’s incredibly easy to hook up your Dynamics 365 published app so that any Office 365 user (admin or not) can spin up a session to try it out, free of charge to them.

I know I’m probably forgetting a load of other cool things that were covered at Directions NA 2017, but trust me when I say that Microsoft is stepping on the pedal hard and going full steam ahead. Dynamics 365 Tenerife is a testament to that for sure.

It’s all so very exciting!

Until next time, happy coding!

 

 

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