Mergetool – Love it!

Still my all time favorite tool for working with Microsoft Dynamics NAV is MergeTool.

Long known as a tool for comparing customized objects in NAV, then providing the ability to merge changes into a new version, there are some aspects which I feel are overlooked.

  1. Scoping tool – no easier way to evaluate the impact of customizations on a customer database.  The Contrasts and Compare Logs provide an instant perspective on how much work has been done to modify and add objects in a database.
  2. Documentation aid – many developers remove the Modified flag and sadly some fail to update the version tag.  The Contrast will provide a true reading on whether an object has changed and allow one to update version tags and documentation triggers properly.
  3. Analysis tool – as I do not sell NAV anymore, my customers are all new to me when I start a project.  Sadly, most customizations done to NAV lack design documentation to help understand why a mod. was done.  Using the Where-Used features quickly reveals all the objects affected by a contrast.  Then some simple detective work will reveal why the object in question was added or modified.
  4. NAV Version coverage – while newer versions of NAV have some cool commands for merging object changes, Mergetool is still the only effective way of evaluating any NAV version, so still provides maximum ROI for developers who work with many customers.

 

From Classic to Role-tailored Client (RTC)

With the release of NAV 2015 and the expiration of support for NAV 2009, the time to consider a comprehensive upgrade is here.

This is a MAJOR upgrade and requires careful analysis by experienced NAV consultant/developers, because:

  1. there are some significant functionality changes in the data base such as the migration of the North America kitting feature into the base manufacturing code.
  2. the Classic client is no longer supported (except for developers who still use the old interface).  This means that users will need training on how to use the new interface
  3. the upgrade involves several steps such as from NAV5 to NAV 2009 to NAV 2009 R2 to NAV 2013 to NAV 2015.
  4. in this case BOTH executable and database versions must be upgraded

Because of the many steps involved, a careful analysis of your customizations is necessary, as it may also make sense to re-implement NAV versus upgrading through all the steps above.

Please insist on access to a highly experienced NAV developer to provide the best path forward.

 

Upgrading Executable Version Only

There are a couple of cases to always upgrade your executable version.

  1. from any version prior to NAV 5.x, SP1 to NAV 2009 – this executable upgrade will:
    1. reduce the size of your SQL Server database immediately by up to 40% because of the elimination of SIFT index tables
    2. provide a better compiler with colors for syntax checking
    3. make your system faster because of fine-tuning for SQL Server
  2. from NAV 2013 to NAV 2015 – because NAV 2015 is the version where the benefits of the role-tailored client are fully provided.

NAV Version Upgrades

Lots of users miss the fact that their installation has not one but TWO versions. This information is found from the Help>About Microsoft Dynamics NAV menu. The first version shown is the database version and the second version inside the parentheses is the executable version.  In this case the executable version is 6.32012, meaning NAV 2009 build 32012.  Yes NAV 2009 is version 6, NAV 2013 is version 7 and NAV 2015 is version 8.  Confused?  Me too!  A complete list of versions can be found here.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 11.56.07 AM

 

It is often possible to update the executable version without updating the database version, especially as database version upgrades are typically fairly costly when there are a lot of customizations. Upgrading the executable can often provide immediate benefits at a low cost such as:

  • ensuring that you are using a supported version from Microsoft (note Microsoft support is for executable versions).
  • “black box” benefits such as access to the newest compiler
  • processing efficiencies on SQL Server as were derived by the executable upgrade to version 5, SP2.

 

In RTC, you will see something like this, still with two version numbers, except on separate lines.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 6.53.31 PM

Please contact your solution center and ask how you might benefit from an executable-only upgrade.