Navision <-> Damgaard merger

In the last days we could read and see what the marketing- and sales-people think about the Navision-Damgaard merger. But the press-release which is found on the Navision and Damgaard homepages is dedicated to shareholders not to the developers of Fin and Axapta. Now I would like to hear some opinions from developers. In fact it’s us who will be most affected by this merger: Will we all have the privilege to learn JAVA? How long do you think will it take until both programs (Navision and Axapta) will be merged into ONE application? And how will this new application and developement environment look like? I know that nobody has an answer to these questions at this very moment but I’d like to know what your intuition tells you. Marcus Marcus Fabian phone: +41 79 4397872 m.fabian@thenet.ch

Even if the joined companies would start working on a new joined version of their products today, I would guess it would take more than a year before a release comes in sight. Knowing Navision is close to releasing version 3.0, assuming the C/AL development environment is not going to change very much in there (see the other discussion on this), looking at the differences in approach at current state (heavily depending on Microsoft technology at Navision, less prescriptive at Damgaard), it is quite safe to predict we will have a few more grey hairs before being able to code in Java is required for Navision :slight_smile: Taking it all together, I would set my bet on Microsoft’s .Net technology as future development environment. John

I agree that it will take at least one year until they start to merge the software. But if they do, I estimate that Damgaards Java will be the choice. It’s platform independend and a huge know-how and a big library will be available already within the NavisionDamgaard company. Why should they move to a third product where none of the developers has any experience and all libraries would have to be re-invented? And why should they want to loose the capability of having a platform independend solution and concentrate on only ONE (MS) operating system? From the Navision point of view it wouldn’t make any difference whether to change to Microsoft.Net or to Java. Navision developers have to learn a new developement environment and programming language anyway. But the Damgaard people would loose all their customers who are running Axapta on Sun-Solarix or Unix. Java is running everywhere including Microsoft OS’s but .net is only running on Windows. Marcus Marcus Fabian phone: +41 79 4397872 m.fabian@thenet.ch

The initial press release indicates that Navision & Damgaard will NOT be combining their products. The continuing compamy will have 3 main product lines: two Damgaard lines and Navision Financials (now known as Navision Solutions.) It does seem to me, that the three lines do overlap a lot and probably should be collapsed into one at some point in the future. ------- Tim Horrigan

Let me give you a couple of reasons why it would make sense (in a longer term) to merge the two products in a longer term: 1) Having one rather than three applications to maintain and support requires less people and is therefore more cost efficient. 2) New modules would have to be invented only once. 3) It’s a sales argument if an application is scaleable and can grow with customer demands. 4) Navision was already planning to add 3tier capabilities to Financials. Axapta is already 3tier. 5) C/SIDE is a quite old fashioned developement tool an must be replaced sooner or later anyway. 6) The official statements where targeted to shareholders and customers. It makes sense to assure existing customers that the software they implemented doesn’t loose it’s value. That’s fine and I would do the same if I was a Navision responsible. I don’t think that merging both programs will be an issue for 2000 or 2001 but later? I’m persuaded that merging both products is the only thing which makes sense and it’s only a matter of time until it’s accomplished. Hopefully in small steps. Marcus Marcus Fabian phone: +41 79 4397872 m.fabian@thenet.ch

One of Navision’s power is, I think, the possibility to customize the working evironment. This is what C/SIDE, C/AL are for. I don’t see any use in changing that to Java or what ever. I would like to see a completely new Navision, in which it is possible to build specialized applications, but on the other hand there already are plenty of IDE’s for that. Navision will probably stick to it’s formula of succes: customizing sotware. Anolis Sittard Netherlands

Dont worry guys, You will be not forced to learn Java/Axapta and so on. Navision partners will be selling Navision and Daamgard partners will be selling XAL & Axapta. First XAL will be killed (migrated to Solutions). Axapta will survive until the .NET then it will be killed. The true is Daamgard is dead now and was bought by Navision for current customers and to remove one of main competitors.

I don’t worry about Java at all. It’s always challenging to learn something new :slight_smile: What makes you think that Damgaard is dead? Do you know something I don’t know or is it just a nasty rumour? Why do you think that .net would have an advantage over Java? (Think about multi platform and a huge existing library available in Java.) Marcus Marcus Fabian phone: +41 79 4397872 m.fabian@thenet.ch

Hi Marcus, >>I don’t worry about Java at all. It’s always challenging to >>learn something new :slight_smile: I do believe. But it is not reasonable (possible) to force all the Navision channel to do that. It is well known that Daamgard failed with Axapta because of long learning curve with this product. Anyway you are free to use Java ;-). Most important: customers do not want to pay for your learning. >>What makes you think that Damgaard is dead? >>Do you know something I don’t know or >>is it just a nasty rumour? 1. See their financial results this year - Axapta is selling good only in Denmark. They have substantial loss! 2. They were trying to sell the company before 3. Part of Axapta development team left Daamgard 4. In fact Columbus IT left Daamgard. This is one of the largest Daamgard partners (most of sale from international market) >>Why do you think that .net would have an advantage over Java? This is not about advantages but about competition between standards. Microsoft has stopped all Java activities now (J++ line closed). Probably there is no plan to get back to Java. Why? The .NET architecture/ C# has the same benefits as Java and some more (mainly infrastructure things). It is obvius policy of MS NOT TO BE multiplatform (because they are loosing money this way). About Java in .NET → MS signed sort of agreement with HP to support .NET standards. HP will deliver sort of Java gateway to .NET (Just to run Java soft for some time). >>(Think about multi platform and a huge existing library >> available in Java.) If you ever made a project in Java you do know what the multiplatform really means ;-). Anyway it is an advantage for developers - not customers (although we are claiming that). The real thing about multiplatform is scalability. I thing that customers buying MS soft do not thing about other platforms, really. Huge library - where? :wink: Do you mean EJB?

What makes you say that .NET is platform dependent? On the slides I have seen from MS, they mention AS/400, S/390, Linux etc. It’s using something very simular to a Virtual Machine, just like Java. (But Axapta isn’t using Java, so why are we having this discussion??) :slight_smile:

What makes you say that .NET is platform dependent?<< Because it’s from Microsoft and Microsoft doesn’t have an interest in writing software for other OS’s. Did they ever? >>But Axapta isn’t using Java, so why are we having this discussion<< I found the following statement on the damgaard site: “MorphX Development Suite is inspired by the popular Java language …”. But you are right (I should have read the text better), Damgaard’s X++ is not Java, only Java-inspired (whatever that means). The reason for this discussion - at least for me - is to gain a better picture about what’s possibly going to come. So far the statements from Navision and Damgaard were targeted to shareholders and customers and in short words they say: “Don’t worry, everything is going to stay as it is, it can only become even better”. But let’s face it: The ones who will feel first any kind of change is us, the programmers, developers. And amongst the programmers I will be the kind of person who will feel it most of all. You know, if you are employed by a NSC you might be send to a course and learn a new programming language. But that wouldn’t affect your life too much as while you are learning you will still get your salary. For me the situation is different as I am working as self-employed and independent programmer. I depend on NSC’s hiring me and they will only do so as long as I am able to keep a higher level of know-how and have more skills and experience than their own programmers. If - for example - Navision would decide that on day X the developement environment is being changed to D++, I would have to learn D++ like any other Navision Developer. This learning time would not be paied by anybody and even afterwards I would be on the same skill-level like any other D++ Programmer and therefore have difficulties to maintain my status as independent developer. If I would know, that in one year Navision would change to .Net, I would start to learn .Net right now in order to have the required experience when the change comes. I know, this is a very personal and subjective point of view and most developers in this forum might not share it. But keeping track of the pulse of time is of most vital interest for me. That’s why I really DO appreciate that you share your knowledge and thoughts with me :slight_smile: Marcus Marcus Fabian phone: +41 79 4397872 m.fabian@thenet.ch

Hi all Im a trainee in a German NSC. The first time I heard about the merger I asked myself just one thing: What changes will come? I know that no one of you may able to answer that question but what are the general differences/commons between CAL,C# and Java? Im a newbee in C/AL and DELPHI4. Well, I want to learn something that “stays” - I dont want to start over just because of a merge like this. Of course - some changes have to been(?) made but as long as I am a Trainee I have more Time to learn than a Full-Time-Developer :slight_smile: What should I learn? Will C/AL being skipped? Is C# coming? Any suggestions? Thanks for listening and please excuse my English :wink: Benjamin Crause webmaster@amargosasun.de Germany

Ten years ago, back in 1990, when I studied software engineering, a teacher made a following forcast for the future. He predicted that there will be a concentration on on only a few programming languages and databases: C (C++) as programming language, Oracle as db. As we know now, he was quite wrong as new programming languages have been invented (Java) while others are really almost dead (Cobol, Fortran, APL, Prolog, Modula, ADA). Most people start programming in Basic or Visual-Basic as it’s the easiest language and very well documented. If you seeking for a professional language I would suggest C (all derivates), Java and Delphi. Delphi has the best developement environment. C and Java have the advantage of being better documented (which means that there’s more code available than with Delphi). Both, Java and C are very similar so one of those might be your choice. Navision uses C/SIDE which is a derivate of Borlands Turbo-Pascal 3.0. As Delphi is also a grandchild of Turbo-Pascal, both have the same Pascal-syntax. As you have to learn C/SIDE anyway, you might choose Delphi to devolop other applications. However, you have to learn also enough C, Java and VB to understand the code as most documentation and code-samples are to be found in one of those languages. Talking about the future after the merger: As C/SIDE is close to Delphi and Daamgard’s X++ is close to Java one can admit that eithr Java or Delphi will be the leading language in the future. Marcus Marcus Fabian phone: +41 79 4397872 m.fabian@thenet.ch

A rumour is being floated around that the Navision and Damgaard products will not stay as they are. What is being mentioned, is that the financials is to be downgraded and that the Axapta product is going to be the flagship product of the merger. Does anyone know if this has any substence to it, and if so, what effects is this likely to have ?

Generally it’s always true if you say “products will not stay as they are” as software is being improoved on a regular basis :slight_smile: This is true for Financials as well as Axapta. But I’m not sure about XAL: Let’s distinguish between facts and rumours: Fact 1: If you look at the stock-exchange. Navision shareholders will hold 74%, Damgaard shareholders 26% of the new company. In other words: Navision outnumbers Damgaard 3:1. This means that - no matter what is officially being pretended - this is not a “merger” between two companies. In fact Navision was buying Damgaard. Fact 2: If you look at the features of Fin 3.0 which is said to be available in Q2 2001, you can clearly see that Navision is attacking Axapta in the 3-tier market. Fact 3: Axapta was developed by the same programmers which programmed the first versions of Navision!! Therefore it can be assumed that internally both products are somehow similar. Fact 4: Axapta is a product which is not yet ready to be released. It still suffers a lot of child-sicknesses and therefore has to be further enhancend, tested and corrected before it is ready for the market. The merger buys some time for Axapta to be made fit. Fact 5: Damgaard never had a worldwide distribution channel. Rumour 1: Further enhancement, developement and support for Damgaard XAL (the product for small companies) will stop. Rumour 2: Navision only bought Damgaard in order to get rid of a competitor and get the Damgaard XAL customers. Idea: Migrate XAL customers to Navision. My personal conclusion: As 1) Navision is a very reliable and stable program while Axapta is not and 2) Navision is attacking the Axapta market with Fin 3.0, I think that Navision Financials will be the surviving product in longer terms. Maybe they take the best out of Axapta to integrate it in a future version of Navision and generate some tools to convert Axapta db’s into Financials. I’m fully persuaded that in longer terms (> 2 years) only ONE product will survive - Navision Financials. I think that the official promise, which tells us that three products will be supported parallely, will not be kept for mor than 2 years. Marcus Marcus Fabian phone: +41 79 4397872 m.fabian@thenet.ch

Hi all, I think all this rumoring has to stop now :slight_smile: Rene Stockner, Vice President of World Wide Operations at NavisionDamgaard released a letter to all partners more than one week ago now. This gives answers to most of the doubts you might have. Get a hold of it, your Local Navision Software Office have a copy of it, and read it. I think we should stop “rumoring” and discussing who was taking over who, and which product are the superior. It will only hurt our business, if we bring forward our own personal opinions about products etc. Lars Strøm Valsted Head of Project and Analysis Columbus IT Partner A/S

Hi all I am sorry but I have to ask: What is/means 3-tier? Thanks! Benjamin Crause webmaster@amargosasun.de Germany

Lars, As I see from the signature of your posting, you are in project management. From your point of view it might be ok to life according to the official statements. In fact that’s what you have to communicate towards the customers. If NavisionDamgaard once decides overnight to do a major change in the developement environment, the database or the programming language it wouldn’t affect you too much as generally project planning and analysis do not depend on these issues. For me the situation looks different as I’m speaking here from the point of view of a developer and as has been discussed earlier in this thread, the developement environment is a key issues for us. I fully agree with you that salespeople, customers and shareholders have to rely on the official statements. But I’m more interested in reality and the sooner I know what will - most likely - be ahead, the better. Marcus Marcus Fabian phone: +41 79 4397872 m.fabian@thenet.ch

Benjamin, In most cases “3-tier” is a very nice word which sounds good, every salesperson uses and nobody knows what it really means. :slight_smile: In short words: 1-tier: Program and Data on one Computer 2-tier: Program on Client, Data on Server 3-tier: Program and Data on Server n-tier: Programs and Data on different servers (Examples: Java classes and Microsoft.Net) Marcus Marcus Fabian phone: +41 79 4397872 m.fabian@thenet.ch

Fabian, You are right that I’m in project management/analysis at this point. However, it has not always been so. I have been employed 6 years at NAvision Softwares HQ, and part of that period I was responsible for the training of NSCs and NTRs when Navision Financials was first released. So, I know what it means to change the devlopment environment. Even the relatively small changes made from N3 to NF was a big issue at that time. What I was going on about in my posting was that a lot of the statements in this thread are based on rumors, what people THINK they know etc. My argument is that it would be a lot more productive to read what the official statements about the product future says, and relate to that instead of discussing rumors. In any case, a previous statement from Navision Software talked about the product future as “evolution not revolution”. That sort of says a lot, don’t you think? Anyway, do you really think that NavisionDamgaard would change the development environment overnight?? Damgaard did that with Axapta, and it hurt their channel a lot because the XAL knowledge could not be re-used in Axapta. I think they have learned their lesson, and that they are not going to repeat that mistake. Lars Strøm Valsted Head of Project and Analysis Columbus IT Partner A/S