App Builder or Solution Developer

Hello Nav Developers, I’m new to the Navision world and may have got the terms in the subject incorrect. Any way, we are in negotiations with a provider right now to bring 6 of our glass distributions centers on-line using Nav 2.6. We have discussed buying only the application builder, but I’m concerned that we may need the more advanced features. Here’s a little background: Being in the auto glass industry, we have what’s called the National Auto Glass Specifications (NAGS) that are used as a standard for our inventory part numbers. We will have to integrate the NAGS tables into Navision for parts lookups, vehicle lookups, Navision item record updates, interchangeables, list prices, etc… As you can imagine, the NAGS tables (over 30 of them) are complex and come to us quarterly via flat files. Here’s the question’s: 1. Do you think we will be able to perform the quarterly updates to NAGS using the App Builder by itself? 2. If we build a middle tier via VB, would we be able to call dll’s via navision to kick off VB lookup/update routines? 3. Do you think the solution developer tool is worth it? 4. How might you approach this? Thanks for your input, Bill Reese Guardian Auto Glass bill.reese@guardian.com

Hello Bill. First, I think the main thing you need is some upfront diagnostics. What do I mean? Good, upfront analysis as to your buisness process and how all the data is to flow. Why? What you are asking to have done should not be a problem for any NSC (Navision Solution Center). You might say - if it’s not a problem then why not do it ourselves. Well, it depends on how much time your company has to allow your developers time to learn the Navision environment. The NSC developer should be able to make a nice form where you can select which dataport to run. Thus, from your perspective you simply click an option and your data is updated and life is good. I won’t lie, creating the dataports - depending on the complexity could cost a little money. However, this should be a one time cost - since typically the file formats shouldn’t change. Perhaps you can also ask the NSC as part of the process to give your developer(s) some training time on doing dataports. Your developer(s)could work on the simplier dataports while the NSC developer works on the more complex ones. Then, have the NSC developer review the dataport(s) that your developer(s) wrote and see if there is any additional advice that they can give. Yes, the training comes with a fee; however, this is a win - win situation for you. First, you save some time, get some training for your developers, and get a better understanding of the Navision development environment. The NSC wins because they’ll get a better understanding of your business process. Therefore, the NSC will be able to provide you better support whether the question is on the development environment or simply how to accomplish what you want in Navision. No, I don’t think you need the Solution Developer’s license. The only thing it gives you is access to protected tables and posting codeunits, which if you don’t thoroughly understand Navision can cause you lots of problems, waste lots of your time, and cost you a ton of money. Welcome to the Navision world. /Michael

Thanks for your input, Michael.

We have two customers with Solution Developer. Both of these customers purchased it from another Solution Center and later switched to us for support and services. We have many customers with Application Builder. We recommend to customers that they subcontract any projects that require Solution Developer to us. We have been selling Navision in the US for over 8 years and have not yet found a situation that justifies the customer’s investement in Solution Developer. Many of our customers do extensive internal development. One even considers their Navision system a key competitive advantage and has very extensive internal development projects. Solution Developer “protects” key tables and posting routines. These are the most complex portions of the system and changing them should only be done by very experienced Navision developers. One way to think of this is that without Solution Developer you must call the provided “API” to do some things. With solution developer you can change the “API.” The vast majority of development effort can be done without Solution Developer, however some projects will require a very minor subcontracted component to change a part that requires Solution Developer. The one customer I mention above probably users our servives a few times a year to change some small part that requires Solution Developer.