A few weeks ago, a very good friend sent me a message: “Arrived in Happy Station”. A smile came on my face, because I just knew this was very good news .. not only for him .. but also for NAV..
It’s about my good friend Kurt Juvyns.
I really started to know Kurt in the early days of the Belgian Dynamics Community back in 2008. We were brainstorming what we could do for the Belgian NAV people .. and he was the one that had the nerves to aim high - and motivated us that we can do it. So we did.. :-).
I once described him as “A community person in “heart and kidneys” ” in one of my blogs. And I really mean that. He’s a tireless, organized, … NAV enthusiastic / evangelist .. and it has always been a joy to work with him (probably because he did most of the work ;°) ).
In Belgium, his role was PTA (Partner Technology Advisor). For many partners, he had to do presentations about the vision of Microsoft, or product demo’s of NAV 2009, or.. . We did some presentations together, and I really enjoyed those. I remember the one for the Belgian Dynamics Community, where we went may be a little too far in “nagging” on each other during the session .. but hey, it was fun!
Are there no “dirty details”?
Well, actually there aren’t, damnit. I wouldn’t hold them from you, but there really are none I could think of :(. May be one more thing to mention is his passion for photography. You can see his pictures on his website: http://www.kuju.be/ . Nice, isn’t it? ;°)
So, dude, why the story?
Well, Kurt has moved up to quite an interesting position at Microsoft. He’s not working for Belgium anymore, but from today, he’s working directly for the people at Vedbaek as a Senior Product Manager NAV, reporting to Paul White, Senior Director ERP Product Management Volume. What this means in a more concrete way .. I don’t know (yet), but I’m sure we’ll hear a lot of him in the near future. He’s fully back at Dynamics NAV, said goodbye to AX .. and is working at the core! As you might have gotten from above .. I’m convinced that’s a good thing.
Good luck, Kurt!
The new update of the Intervat 8.0 is available (already from last Friday evening). And at a first glance all looks pretty good. May be not all like I would have done it .. but let’s not turn this into a PRS-thing .. “how should we (or I) structure the code”.
Except for one thing: How do you explain a primary key of type “Text 20″ in the Representative table?
Anyway .. :-/
After implementing this in our base product .. I actually wonder .. What now? Is there a way of testing this? Not that I knew what I had to expect .. or know what I was doing .. all I could think of, was contacting the Intervat-guys myself. I mean .. they do provide their contact details on their site, so what the heck.
The outcome was embarrassing (why again am I blogging this?) .. as they pointed me to the intervat home page, where there was a clear indicated link to the test environment:
Not my most intelligent question ever I must admit. But anyway .. if you plan to do this, be sure you have an Isabel6 account, or an eID reader to do so .. .
Anyway, we’re in that testing stage just now .. but I don’t expect any problems. If so .. expect an “update 4″ of this blog ;°).
Merge and Test, my friends!
(and than merge some more…)
I realised that I never shared the Intervat links. Here they are!
NAV 2009 SP1
While we’re still waiting (well .. not really litterally waiting..) for the Intervat8 objects .. we got a new “Microsoft-Gift” today for quite some countries.
Microsoft has been working on a new database with lots of new demodata in it. And this for additional countries (meaning it was already there for W1 and some other countries, like Germany, Mexico, Canada and .. of course .. the US. .. ):
- Belgium (woohoo..:-))
- New Zealand
As a summary, about 2,4 million records have been added (while the original only had 61210 records). That’s massive! This results in something like this:
You can find it at the NAV2009 R2 Download page (Scroll down to the part called “Extended Demo Database Backups”).
No, this is not a double post .. this is yet another “heads up” of the fact that a new update is coming .. which means that the previous one (I wrote about here) is in fact already outdated. So the message is: stop whatever you’re doing about that .. don’t implement further .. because in a few days (hopefully) there will be a new version of the Intervat 8 objects and you’ll have to start over. While typing the above, I recieved the email with the communication that something is indeed going to change … a few days prior to the release :-). I’m sure this means that many days in total are won, just because many people will stop with what they’re doing right now .. and only continue with the final objects in a few days .. . Early communication .. thanks! [:)]
Is this because of your previous blog?
Not at all .. because also other (probably more important) issues needed to be resolved. I was actually very positively surprised of the fact that Microsoft really took my comments seriously .. so it did have some consequences, didn’t it :-). I noticed that about all of the issues I had .. will be solved! :-).
What issues are going to be solved?
- First of all the zero amounts: when a customer has the same positive and negative amount in a reporting period that it won’t be reported …
for all reports
- all amount fields will have 2 decimals
- A testfield on CompanyInfo.email when no representative is used
- Extra fields for representatives, which became mandatory
- The hard coded country code is gone! (woohoo!) The report will look at the Country/Region Code in the Company Information Table. This makes sense (at least for the 5 minutes I had to think about it .. [:)]). As the report is only needed in Belgian companies .. so the company information will most probably be the right code for Belgium, right?
- And (as I would expect) the representatives get an own page (and form). Now, this data can be managed like people are used to.
- The company variable was changed into CompanyInformation. Not really to most important issue .. but we’re all into consistency, right? [:)]
I’m very positive (admitted .. I haven’t seen the update yet, but still..). Except from the naming-issue (”Representative” being too general - “VAT Representative” being more descriptive..), all other issues I mentioned before have been built into this update. I couldn’t have dreamed for this!
So I can only say: thank you, Microsoft, for the early communication, and thank you for the changes!
Quite the same topic as my previous blog, but I didn’t want to put it together, as both deserve equal attention in my opinion.
People that have been eager enough to implement Dynamics NAV 2009 in the very very first days of its life .. deserve an applause! They deserve quite some respect, as that very first release was a challenge to implement (if anyone disagrees, please say so .. ). It wasn’t a surprise that Microsoft came with a much better release (being SP1), which was a huge improvement and - let’s be honest - a must to upgrade to.. . So for me, it isn’t a surprise either that they don’t support the non-service-pack-release anymore (already from October 2011) .. as why would anyone want to be on that release in stead of SP1 or R2? ;-).
As you can understand .. at some point, the support of versions of NAV will end. And I think we can be glad that Microsoft (Dynamics NAV team) doesn’t completely “cut off” the version (like it usually happens with software).
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 5.0 - Mainstream Support Ends April 2012
This sounds terrible, but in fact, may be it isn’t all THAT terrible. Let’s be honest. We’re in 2012. Latest version is NAV 2009. And even the version before that (5.0) is - at this moment - still fully supported! In my opinion, that’s been even too long ;°).
In April, only the Mainstream Support will end. But what does that mean? Well, don’t be mistaken. Don’t think you have any kind of support of Microsoft .. besides the stuff that was already reported and fixed. So, what I think it means - in my words - how I understand it - (hope I made clear that these are only my words, and is not an official statement ;°) ) - is that after April 2012, for NAV 5.0, including SP1,
- no bugs will be fixed anymore
- Microsoft will not communicat with you anymore about any type of support
So what does remain?
Well, for customers who are current on a service plan can continue to access the following benefits through CustomerSource:
- Previously released upgrads, updates, service packs, fixes and regulatory/tax updates!
- Self-Help Support through Knowledge Base articles and online content
- Unlimited Online Training
- CustomerSource Community and Tools
And THAT’s still very valuable, of course!
Don’t say you didn’t know!
That “take a seat”-part of the title is just a suggestion because it’s quite a long story .. and I think it’s more comfortable than standing up all the time ;°) … or do I mean something else….
It seems that about each year, we (Belgium) face a new update regarding VAT-stuff :(. And as you might have noticed from the title .. I’m not that fond of it. OK, may be finally we’ve got a government .. but if that means: a yearly intervat-update .. I’ll choose not to have one :-/
Anyway .. may be you remember the previous adventure we went through .. you could follow it on my blog (http://dynamicsuser.net/blogs/waldo/archive/tags/Upgrade/default.aspx) as i tried (but wasn’t always allowed) to make people aware of the fact that it really involved quite some work .. and back then .. Microsoft wasn’t really making our life easier .. . But let’s not “take old cows out of the ditch” (which is the litteral translation of something like “I do not want to go over old ground”) of something that did leave some scars.
Intervat 8.0, of course. Never heard of it? Me neither .. until I received a mail from Microsoft on the 30th of December last year (which is only 5 days ago), saying that “Per 7th of February 2012″ - only one month later - “new schemas for INTERVAT” - quite important, i guess - “will be applicable” - as in: go live - “and the old schemas will not be accepted anymore” - as in: upgrade is mandatory.
For customers .. this is why you pay maintenance, people!
My first reaction was positive. OK, we have to organize ourselves to do this for possibly +200 customers within 20 working days, in a period where many customers are going live, in a period where many employees are taking holidays .. but hey .. you shouldn’t have this amount of customers if you’re not organised to do this unexpectedly. OK, may be they could have communicated it just a teeny weeny bit sooner (Dear partner, we’re working on an update for intervat 8.0 - blabla - old stuff won’t work anymore - blabla - get yourself organised - blabla - release at the end of december - full stop. Clear communication, everybody happy). I’m the last person that’s compaining though … . It’s not like we, as partner, pay extra money to Microsoft for this kind of communication (oh wait .. we actually do … PABS? :-/ ).
I do sense some kind of frustration, waldo .. wassup?
I expected it to be quite minor - and it actually is. It’s only 5 objects:
- New Table 11308 Representative
- Updated Report 11307 VAT-Form
- Updated Report 11309 VAT Annual Listing – Disk
- Updated Report 11315 VAT – VIES Declaration Disk
- New Codeunit 11308 INTERVAT Helper (New)
And if you don’t care at all about code design and how things work down below .. then you’ll be perfectly happy, because it’s very simple to do this upgrade: send the fob to your customers, let them import it, and there you go.
Me, on the other hand, I do care about what’s behind. Since we did some modifications (minor though) in these reports, I had to go into code. Just by importing our changes (thank you ReVision, of turning this into a 5-minute job) into it, I bumped into things I actually didn’t like very much .. . It actually makes me wonder what that very-expensive-and-long-hotfix-approval-before-putting-on-partnersource-process is all about.
I want to stress out though that these are all just my opinions, and I would really appreciate that you don’t base yours on mine ;°) . Some people tell me that I really go too deep, and make problems of minor things (how it’s said in English, a fusspot?) .. so please pardon me if this makes you feel you about me like that. But anyway, I’m going to share .. :-):
The naming conventions we’re used to, are not applied decently:
- The table name is “Representative”. Uhm .. Representative of what? My Jobs? Certain jobs? Customers? CRM? Something else? It’s actually “VAT Declaration Representative”. I would have suggested it to call it like that.
- There is a variable name “Company” which points to “CompanyInformation”. We all know that there is also a company table ..
We all value the consitency that Microsoft already put into the naming conventions … something we can rely on most of the times.
How can I fill the table?
Like said, there’s a new table .. but how do I fill this table? There are no pages, no menu items, nothing. I asked this and the reply was: this table is filled and maintained from the request page of the report - it’s by design.
First reaction: Eh?
Second reaction: oh…
So, it’s only one record, so no second representative possible? It seems that the goal was to use as less objects as possible to make it look a very small update. First time I saw this, I was really stumbled, so it didn’t feel natural that this was linked into the request page.. . What if I want to automate this report? What if I want to have more-than-one “representative”? My opinion? Not done..
And then my favorite: hardcoded stuff
These are belgian reports, and only apply to Belgian customers. So how to filter on “Belgium”. Apparently there was only one way:
SETRANGE(”Country/region Code”, ‘BE’);
First reaction: Eh? (followed by quite a long silence…)
So we’re assuming that all hundreds and hundreds of customers are using ‘BE’ as the code for Belgium? Not ‘B’ not ‘BEL’ not … . We’re not allowed anymore to use something else .. while it’s just a code field which can contain any value? I read through the documentation, but I couldn’t find anything of this being mandatory. I always assumed hardcoded stuff like this was “not done” .. but you’re right .. also THAT is an assumption.
Don’t get me wrong. Everyone is entitled to making mistakes. And I probably make many more than anyone of you. And even the word “mistake” is based on my own personal opinion. So please, take this with a big grain of salt (i think this litteral translation does make sense in English? ).
The thing that made me a little bit upset though, was the fact that when I reported this, the statement was clear: “you’re right, but if the functionality is working, and people can do their VAT-stuff … we probably won’t “fix” it right away, because there is no bug, and we’ll only do this for the next release.”
So .. when you make the summation:
- Late communication
- Bad designed code slips through thorough approval process
- We’re going to have to do our job twice (now, and when it’s really fixed)
I hope you agree that some people (about 40 partners in Belgium) have the right not to be the happiest Microsoft partners in the world right now.
But I’m positive. From the information I have now, we have a working solution that we can provide to our customers, 40 days (ok, 20 working days, but I’m positive here!) before it actually has to go live. That’s a LOT more than the previous VAT upgrade!