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Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central – First details known for October release

In October, Microsoft is going to roll out new releases for its business applications. Dynamics 365 Business Central will then also be equipped with some improvements and innovations. The release notes recently published by Microsoft provide an overview of the new key features. They also confirm that the on-premise version of Business Central will be the successor to Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

With the upcoming October release, the availability of Dynamics 365 Business Central will be extended. From this point on, the solution can be operated in the cloud, on-premise and as a hybrid model. Customers who currently have a local Dynamics NAV solution in operation can continue to use it. However, subsequent versions of the Dynamics NAV product range will no longer be available under the usual name. Instead, the solution will become “Business Central On-Premise” as part of the new releases.

Optimized productivity and user experience

The new version of Business Central will bring some productivity and usability improvements in the Web Client. Besides a new modern look, improved keyboard navigation and new keyboard shortcuts make working with the program considerably faster and more convenient. Enhanced search functions for pages and reports as well as new filter options for lists also increase user-friendliness – regardless of whether the data is accessed via Web Client or Universal App Client (Smartphone, Tablet or Windows 10).

Dynamics 365 Business Central
The October version of Dynamics 365 Business Central also offers some visual changes (Source: Microsoft)

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Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 – New Features for Developers

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017Since last October, users have been benefiting from the many new features introduced by the latest release of Microsoft Dynamics NAV. But there are also several enhancements for developers to discover in the 2017 version.

One of the most important changes is the expansion to options for creating extensions, whose basic functionality was introduced back in the 2016 release. Developers are now able to utilise the remaining object types (Reports, XMLPorts and Queries), which the extensions now usefully make available for creating more comprehensive solutions. Thanks to the new extensions, enhancements can now be built for Dynamics NAV without making changes to the platform’s standard objects. This simplifies the update process in particular, since the base system can be updated and the extension layer is then updated automatically from the service tier. Extensions can also be easily removed again without trace. In addition, extensions from NAV 2017 onwards can now include report templates, table content, permission sets, add-ins and much more besides.

In the next Dynamics NAV version (codename “Tenerife”), developers will also be able to draw on an in-client designer and the Visual Studio Code development platform for creating their extensions. Since last December, the new tools can already be tested by downloading a public Developer Preview.

With the new “application areas”, Dynamics NAV 2017 also makes things simpler for developers when modifying the user experience to the specific application requirements of the individual user. Administrators can now assign sets defined by a developer to application areas, so that the end users only see elements of the user interface that they actually require in order to complete their various tasks.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 – improving the user experience

In addition to numerous functional innovations offered by the new version of the ERP system, many of the enhancements in Dynamics NAV 2017 also contribute to a more pleasant user experience. Highlights are the new smart notifications as well as a few improvements to the Web Client.

Users can now gain more benefit from non-invasive, intelligent messaging on their user interface that accompanies them through relevant work processes on a context-dependent basis. That means that the user receives information about certain situations and workflows without being disrupted or even blocked in the continuation of his current actions or tasks. This type of messaging supports new, less experienced users in particular in carrying out tasks intuitively without disrupting their workflow.

Smart notifications in Dynamics NAV 2017
Smart notifications in Dynamics NAV 2017

The messages appear at the top edge of the page in a messaging bar – with several notices at the same time in chronological order. The user can then decide whether he wants to discard the communication or choose one of the action options shown.

Improved user experience in the Web Client

The Web Client has also become a first-class client for desktop users. It meets the requirements of most users of an organisation, whether PC or Mac users. Thanks to the continuation of the improvements of Dynamics NAV 2016 with regard to simplicity, productivity and performance, Dynamics NAV 2017 optimises this experience even further – especially for first time users.

For example, new users can use assistants to learn new concepts, be guided by setups and installations or facilitate data input. In addition, revised tool tips display information and help on many fields and actions while the corresponding processes are worked on to the user. Moreover, the use of familiar function keys also helps to optimise workflows. For example, “ESC” can be pressed to end a page immediately or “F5” can be pressed to update data in the browser without having to reload the page completely.

In addition to the features described, Dynamics NAV 2017 also offers other improvements, such as the tap and hold action, brick layout and an optimised performance. It also supports more FactBoxes, iOS 9 and 10, Windows 10 Mobile and iPad Pro and offers much more.