Dynamics NAV developer lurking on AX

I’ve been a NAV developer for the last past 12 years and I’ve been watching the growing AX community with a great deal of interest.

I would love to hear the feedback from NAV developer who have made the switch to AX, how steep was the learning curve, from what I’ve understood the development language is a bit more complicated to master than in NAV.

I do have access to partner source an can download AX2009, will I require a development licence if I wanted to customize the demo database ?

The NAV market is currently pretty dry, so I might spend the rest of the year checking out AX :slight_smile:

Hi Tarek

Welcome to the dark side [:D]

Hopefully Kapil will comment on this post, I believe he went the other way.

I am an application consultant who has 2+ years of AX now after 8 on NAV.

As a developer you obviously need an understanding of the funcdamental workings of the database, and the configuration and processing in AX is simply more complex. As a NAV consultant for whatever reasons, I gained ability on dataport writing, report writing, form changes, what I would class as basic development tasks. I have never git anywhere near this in AX, the functional areas are larger and there is simply a greater division between consultant and developer responsibilities. I have looked, and I have played, and it seems alien to me, but then if someone spent an hour explaining element I am sure the base entry would be as simple as NAV. I cannot comment on the coding, but I am sure it is simply a matter of time, hard work and building on experience.

Good Luck!


Yes, you will need developer license for this. There is concept of layers in Ax for development and I agree development in Ax is more complicated as compared with NAV.

Sometime back I started learning Ax, but later on changed the job and had to drop the Ax learning part.

Good luck Tarek.

Thanks Dhan,

I’ve just read exactly the same thing in a book called Inside AX 4.0 from Microsoft Press, however they do mention that the current version comes with developer rights for one developer.

Since I don’t know when this book was release I will check out if that still the case, hopefully it’s

Adam : do you reckon one can master both the functionnal and technical side of AX ?

Since I’m a Freelance I kind of need to be a jack of all trade

And a master of none! [:)], Hopefully not!

I do not believe you will ever MASTER both, but you can have a level of understanding to become a MASTER programmer I am sure! Simply put it is much bigger than NAV, there are many examples but where NAV just does something AX will have 4 tick boxes and two lookup fields to enable you to configure the system any way you want!

Hopefully in the AX freelance world they will give you a specification, you develop to that, then if you meet the needs of teh specification and it does not work it can hardly be your fault! [:D]

I did work in NAV for 5 years within this period I gave a parallel shot of 1.5 years to AX. It was good experience and believe me too tough. There was a time I worked for two projects simultaneously i.e. same day one for NAV and one for AX that too 2009 [:D]. Did Fin, Trade & logistics, Production and went upto doing Product Builder as well that too alone. [:)] I found AX interesting but came back to NAV . I do look at AX even now but not professionally.

Technically: I found that AX is far more flexible than NAV (though I am not techie but I always try) . Concept of classes and all that Zazz works wonder which is unfortunately missing in NAV I shudn’t say unfortunately etc. as it is just the structure i.e. the way they are built.

If u have worked on any language following OOPS concept then catching it shudn’t be difficult but as u have spent good years in NAV, to reach the level which u wud have achieved in NAV in AX will take time, obviously. As Adam said AX is much bigger than NAV because of the lot of additional features available, u will see some big things not available in NAV are out of the box stuff in AX. As already mentioned creating simple dataports in NAV a person can learn in some hours after starting reading the pdf in AX that will be same as well but diff would be in AX u can end up deleting ur master (without deleting transactions related to them) just imaging while running the import u deleted ur customer master and there transactions (settled and non-settled) r still lying in the ledgers.

Deleting all transactions in AX is just a matter of running a class (sys trans delete, I used it a lot to keep set up and master intact, laziness ) but doing it in NAV was possible on W1 till 4.0, in Ax it does not matter what localization has been activated if ran will delete (I hope I am not wrong [:#]) . U wud notice basic Installation itself is big task in compared to NAV.

So it is just difference of how they are built. For anybody it will be how much spent time u spend on getting in AX, but for sure learning AX would be addictive and fun.

Best of Luck !!!

Interesting topic. I have been doing NAV for the last 5 year. I have recently moved into AX - to be exact less than 4 months ago.

As mentioned by the guys here. AX is a little more complex than NAV but with each day things start to become easier. NAV is very straight forward in terms of what it does. Where as AX is more configurable - either by configuration keys or by ticking options.

To answer your question - it has been a very steep learning curve for me. The greatest help is having someone show you the first time and after that you spend a lot of time teaching yourself. But you need that someone to kick start you. After a few months now, I am feeling a lot more comfortable. If you have done C#/java (or any of the curly brace language), learning the language should be easy. Learning the development environment takes a little bit of time but it’s easy after a while. Learning the architecture - specially the layers and what they mean to AX - takes a bit of time but also not difficult to understand. When you are a developer the hardest thing to learn is probably the functional area. This like any other thing, requires time and experience.

Steve mentioned, the divide between a consultants and developers responsibility is much more visible.I agree with that very much. Most generally, a consultant would never do any development changes.

Working with AX, things are a lot slower. The projects generally are a little longer. Releasing changes takes time. In NAV you can just export/import fobs. In AX you release a layer (yes - you can do export and import of *.xpo but that is not the proper way. As it has consequences - mainly around table/field ids and labels).

The Demo database available in partnersource does not have the development license. Where as the VPC image has a demo license already loaded.

I also believe you can download a demo license from the demonstration toolkit. (I haven’t tried it myself)


Good luck to the both of us on our journey. [:)]