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MSDN evenings on Microsoft Dynamics NAV

2243574443_5e074e4fb1 In the past year and months, Plataan has been delivering MSDN evenings for Microsoft. In fact my colleague Steven Renders did deliver 7 evening sessions with success.

For those who were not able to attend the sessions or who want to review the slides again, we have them made available for download here below:

Download SQLPerformance.pdf

Download ReportingServicesPreview.pdf

Download BI_Preview.pdf

Download IW_Evening.pdf

Download Stylesheets.pdf

Download WebServices_preview.pdf

Download Upgrade.pdf

For questions, check us out or leave a comment on this blog.
If you want us to redeliver these trainings at your venue, do not hesitate to contact us. We can bring it in any way.

If you want to build further on your SQL Server skills, check out these new trainings (6 SQL Server titles!) we offer: http://www.plataan.be/en/navision/training_calendar/Microsoft_SQL_Server_Training.htm

Sheep and costing, a winning combination

My collegeau Steven referred me to an interesting blog about Microsoft Dynamics: http://dynamicsblog.wordpress.com/. The blog is written by Vjekoslav Babić, also simply referred to as Vjeko. He work as a consultant with Microsoft Croatia, specializing in Microsoft Dynamics solutions.

Navigateinto Starting your Microsoft Dynamics blog like this : "When you buy a sheep, how much is it worth to you, what is its value?" when trying to explain about costs in NAV, asks for respect.

In our training we also speak about animals like chicken when explaining about types of tables, flowfields etc.

So, keep on going with the animals Vjeko and great blog.

Vintage broadcast about Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step methodology

Istock_000005070474xsmall

By surfing the web I did found a radio broadcast about Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step Methodology.

In this episode a conversation with Nathan Warner and Christine Bell is recorded. This conversation is about the V1 version of Sure Step. So about the version released last year.

It is a partnercast available at msuspartnerblogs.com: click here.

If you play it, you will be captured by a vintage feeling that refers to past radio history. If the word Telefunken means anything to you, yo will know what I mean.

The combination of a radio broadcast of which the quality and feeling refers to the early days of radio and information about the latest Microsoft implementation methodology is kind of funny and cool at the same time. If you really listen well you can also pick up some interesting information.

What you also need to know is that the V2 version of Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step Methodology is on its way. The dev teams in Redmond are working on it and the Plataan team in Hasselt/Limburg/Belgium is also working on the official courseware for this version in parallel track with the Redmond dev team. How cool is that?

How to print barcodes on a Microsoft Dynamics NAV report

A student question came in :-)  How to print barcodes on a Microsoft Dynamics NAV report?

To print barcodes on a Microsoft Dynamics NAV report, you need to install a barcode font in windows first. You find these fonts on the web but it is also available for download from partnersource.

Then you need to install these fonts in Control Panel/ Fonts. After that you can create your Microsoft Dynamics NAV report. Where you want to print your barcode, you need to change the font of the textbox to the barcode font.

You also need to put * in front and to the end of the source expression.

Example: : ‘*’ + ItemNo + ‘*’Barcodereport_5 Fonts_3 

Barcodereport2_2

Partnersource landing page for Dynamics NAV and SQL Server

Landing_page_nav_sql_2 On partnersource you can find a landing page dedicated to Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft SQL Server.

You can find all the knowledge and tools you need to learn more about running Microsoft Dynamics NAV on the Microsoft SQL 2005 platform..

It was launched long ago, but it is updated frequently.

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Option for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 5.0 FACTSHEET
This month a factsheet about Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 5.0 has been released. You will need a partnersource login to view this factsheet.

The described features are related to:

  • Efficient data management
  • High availability
  • Business analytics
  • Security

Troubled Interaction Management in Microsoft Dynamics NAV

The last two days I have been working on implementing Microsoft Dynamics NAV CRM (Relationship Management), in fact it was an oldschool Navision 3.70 implementation (yes, in 2008 companies still do implement Navision 3.70, amazing).

I was implementing the interaction management functionality. In fact functionality that I always evaluated as nice and interesting. Real cool stuff for demo purposes, even in ancient versions.

However, some bits aren't that well designed in my opinion and these things didn't even changed in later versions as far as I can see.

Let's get into the dirty details here. It all relates to working with the interaction templates and more specific with interaction templates to which attachements are stored.

The last two days I have been digging (I needed a bobcat …) in the code behind these kind of functionalities. The least I can say is that for the code you have two type of attachements: those with merge fields and those without. The golf event template as in the above picture is containing an attachement with merge fields:

I created another template containing an attachement but this time no merge fields:

Let's create an interaction now with the greeting card template and let's make sure that we email this interaction to our contact straight from Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

Result of this interaction is:

A draft email to the emailadress of your contact, containing an attachement: the one you worked on during the interaction.

The same exercise with an interaction based on an interaction template containing an attachement that does includes merge fields (like the golf template) results in this:

Conclusions:

  1. Interaction with communication type 'email' based on a interaction template with attachement NOT containing mergefields:
    1. An email is produced but not send: ends up in drafts
    2. The email contains the attachement as an attachement to the email itself
  2. Interaction with communication type 'email' based on a interaction template with attachement containing mergefields:
    1. An email is produced and send immediately to the contact email adress
    2. The email contains NO attachement, instead the attachement is set in the body

Why this significant difference?

Is there a good valid functional reason?
There is absolutely no good functional reason for this difference. In fact, it causes a lot of confusion and stress for customers. Let's be honest what is the added value of the interactions? It is the uniformization of document interaction with customer combined with the possibility of merging data from your source system into these documents. Does this work? Yes, but putting this content in the body instead of providing it as an attachement is …..:-(

Did we find a technical reason for this?
Yes ,
there is a clear distinction between code for handling both cases. A lot of code involved, let's concentrate on the basics here.
Most of the code we find in Codeunit 5054

Function ExecuteMerge

In this function we find code that clearly states:

// Handle Word documents without mergefields
In the following code basics are:

Mail.NewMessage(

AttachmentManagement.InteractionEMail(InteractLogEntry),'',

TempDeliverySorter.Subject,'',MainFileName,FALSE);

This illustrates that in case of NO mergefields the email is created and send by using the standard MAIL codeunit in Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

What then for the documents WITH mergefields?
For these documents we find the following:

We can see clearly: No use of standard Mail codeunit but a clear example of the use of Wordautomation. Interesting to know, the standard Mail codeunit uses "Outlook Automation" while we here use "Word Automation".

By previous code the "send Word Doc as Attachement" is set to FALSE.

Result ? The Email will be created with no attachement, but with the content in the body.
How uncool is that?

Solutions?

You all are very smart and you will have seen immediately that by putting send Word Doc as Attachement" to TRUE, the problem will be solved.

Guess what? You were right!

Case closed?

Unfortunately not, because the email will be directly send . This in both cases ( either with or without attachement - if the original contains mergefields). Why is that? This is because of the possibilities of Wordautomation.
So, situation is now: we have succeeded in making an attachement to the email containing our attachement from the interaction template. BUT this will be send immediately with this time NO text in the body, only an attachement. As the email is send automatically and not stored as a draft …. problemas.

So, up to the next challenge: stop the sending part! Can we do this?
NO. The MailMerge.Execute function in Word will do the merge and send the mail immediately.

Why is that ? Well this is by design. If you have a look in Word, in the development environment and open the object explorer, you will see that there's no way to intervene to stop sending the mail immediately. If Dynamics-NAV would have used Outlook Automation to send the emai, then we would not have this problem. By using Word Automation from Dynamics NAV it is not a possibility.

Possible Solutions ?

Suggestions are welcome. We could send the emails to an internal dummy emailadress and trap it there. Or we could write a macro in Word that handles the sending of MailMerges in another way. But this will require some extra programming to handle the dummy mailbox.

This cost me like a year of my life … to gain this back I see myself obliged in continuing with stopping smoking J

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