Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Get Stuff Done – Go Home Early - Play with your Wii

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Dynamics NAV Gets Connected

In my first ever blog post I wrote about a site where ideas for new product features can be posted. Today I came across a news article on PartnerSource that pointed me to a new place for logging feature enhancements, the Connect for Microsoft Dynamics site. You will need to register a Windows Live ID in order to use the site, which site is a big improvement on the old public forum.

Microsoft seems to be committed of late to listening to feedback from partners and customers and this is a very welcome move. Recently they requested feedback on how the online help can be improved through Convergence and some of the public forums. This new listening, caring Microsoft makes me feel warm and fuzzy and I truly believe that we should all be feeding back to Microsoft where we think the product can be improved. Long gone are the days when this was a pointless exercise, so sign up and give it a go!

The site seems to have been active since October 2007 but there are only 7 suggestions for NAV – maybe it hasn't been that well publicised? Well here's a suggestion to get things going. If you want to vote for this suggestion you can register and click the rating. Here is the suggestion:

Every implementation of NAV I have ever been involved with has a test system and a live system. I am assuming this is a universally accepted practice – you don't want to be applying programming modifications to your live system without testing them first. In nearly every implementation of NAV I have been involved with, there have been instances at least one user has been logged in to the live system and thought they were logged in to the test system and they have mistakenly posted entries in their live system. The request I commonly receive is to make it so that it is immediately obvious to the users which system they are in: live or test. This should be immediately visually obvious – to me there is only one way to achieve this and that is to change the colour scheme of the windows. You can change the text in the title bar (via 3rd party utilities or by renaming the company) but this is not immediately visually obvious. Another less common requirement is for users that need to work in more than one company at once and they want to see which company they have open. Again they want something that is instantly obvious and don't want to be reading titles of windows. So my suggestion is: allow the Window Colour and Appearance options to be specified at a Company AND Database level. The Database level is required so that if a user restores their live system over their test system (something they frequently need to do) they do not lose the all important colour settings. At the database level it could be stored in a table similar to the $ndo$srvproperty table in the master database – this would have one record for each NAV database. Restoring a database would not overwrite this value. At the company level, it would be set in a table that is company specific.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Quick “Debugging” Tip

Sometimes I want to check something in a bit of code and I don't want to have to step through the debugger. Maybe I want to check the filters that are being applied to a table, maybe it's the value in a particular field. Here's a quick bit of code that you can use to check on a value and, if you're not happy with the value abort the process.

In my example, I wanted to check the table view that had been applied to a record variable. I want the program to stop at the point of my message (something the MESSAGE function doesn't do as NAV saves up messages for a convenient point in time.) I also want to be able to abort the execution in order to give me chance to fix something and try again (something you can't do when debugging with the debugger unless you kill the NAV application in a brutal way.)

Here's the code I put in:



Notice that I'm using the Silent Abort from Vjeko's blog. This will display a confirmation box with the details I am looking for. If I click No, the process aborts and rolls back, allowing me to change some values and run it again.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Look at me! I’m a balloon!

This has got nothing to do with Dynamics NAV so if you're looking for news on ERP systems, leave now. If you are squeamish about medical procedures then you should also leave. Hi Dad – just you and me reading this now.

I am gluten intolerant. That means if I eat anything with Gluten in it I feel crook. Today I went for a Esophagogastroduodenoscopy to see if I have coeliac disease (the disease sounds bad but basically it means you can't eat gluten without it making you crook and you have damage to the bits of your gut that help you absorb nutrients.) There is no cure other than to stop drinking beer, eating pizza, burgers, toast, pasta, etc. So, not too bad, right?

Anyway, back to the procedure. I was given the choice of a local anaesthetic spray (that numbs the throat) or the spray and a sedative. I was told that if I had just the local I would be able to watch the procedure on a video monitor. I was also told that the guy before me just had the local and he was able to keep himself calm, control his breathing and he got through it fine. I was also told that the sedative would make me feel drowsy and unable to do pretty much anything for the rest of the day. I was attracted to the idea of watching the procedure on the video monitor (my wife says this is the geek in me winning out of the sensible part of me.) Now if you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position to be asked if you want a sedative before someone shoves a piece of hose down your throat and pumps your stomach up like a balloon, the correct answer is "Hell yes!"

As for the video: the doctor stood in front of my screen so I didn't see a thing! But the procedure was so unpleasant that there could have been a small family of pixies living in my stomach and I wouldn't have cared. There were several people watching the procedure (I am guessing they were students) and none of them would make eye-contact afterward. This was probably due to the strange retching-gagging-belching noise I was making and the look of fear on my face. I think they were thinking "Dear God! What did we just do to that man?"

So the purpose of this blog posting is that if anyone is searching Google with the question: "Should I take the sedative before having an EGD, OGD, upper GI endoscopy (UGIE), or gastroscopy" then they can read this and know that no matter how appealing seeing their insides on a video screen seems, you should take the drugs!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Dynamics NAV SQL Security Roles

I'm studying for the Installation and Configuration exam at the moment and have found some interesting stuff in the training material that I often need to know. I was recently asked about the SQL permissions needed to be able to create new users in Dynamics NAV and, thanks to my studies, was able to go straight to the right page in the document. I was interested to see that this topic also recently surfaced again in the DynamicsUser forum. This table is for Dynamics NAV 5.0.

Invoking the synchronization process or modifying the User table

sysadmin server role. Alternatively both a member of the securityadmin server role and a member of the db_owner database role for this database.

Creating a database

sysadmin or dbcreator server role. Alternatively, the user must have been granted the create database permission. The user must also have public access to the model database.

Altering a database

sysadmin or dbcreator server role. Alternatively a member of the db_owner or db_ddladmin database role for this database.

Creating tables within a database

sysadmin server role or be a member of the db_owner database role for this database.

Now you could argue that you don't want to grant these SQL rights to the user just to let them add users to the ERP database. This raises an interesting question: which is better, giving a user db_owner role membership and securityadmin server role or knowing that any user of the application could potentially add other users to the database? Personally I like the thought that I can pick and chose which user gets these rights from a SQL administrator's role and not leave it up to the users of the ERP to decide.

Friday, 7 March 2008

It's Good to be Yellow!

I normally don't repost news from other sites, but here are a couple of items that are interesting because they are Intergen-related. It's also a nice easy way of making a post without needing to do any research or put in any real effort.

Firstly, our boys in Vegas at MIX08 have demoed some rather cool technology called TextGlow. It's a Silverlight 2 application that displays Open Office XML you can read some more about it here or on the Intergen Blog. Or view it for yourself on the textglow site. You will need to install Silverlight 2.0 beta which you can get to from that site and once it is installed restart your browser.

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