It’s that time again! Recently, Microsoft released their plans for the next major version for Dynamics 365.
Quite some time ago, I started with commenting on that (I actually did that because one of the features at that point (being “code customized base app”), was something that I felt needed some criticism (and still do, by the way ;-))). So, by matter of tradition – and it being a good way for me to get myself informed – let’s go through the points, and give some comments or extra information (if any).
Is this post useful? May be not – you can just stop reading and get all the facts here:
What I usually do, is categorize them in my favorite added features, and my somewhat less favorite features.. . This is something you need to decide for yourself, obviously – but it is still my blogpost, so yeah, let’s just do that again ;-).
My favorite new features
Partners can add keys (indexes) to base tables and table extension tables
Oh yes – you read it right! This came a little bit by surprise to me (I might not have been paying attention) – but a very welcome surprise ;-). Finally we’ll be able to better tune indexes – at least in the “adding” part. It doesn’t say much about the limitations .. but any added ability along these lines is very much appreciated!
If you want to know more about the actual scope .. Kennie explained some more on this Twitter thread:
Also the removal of indexes (also very necessary in tuning-scenarios) will not be part of this release yet – but at least it’s in scope ;-).
Again .. HUGE! Finally! Finally we’ll be able to extend a report in stead of copy-ing it to our own range, and substitute it. This will tremendously simplify customizations in PTE and OnPrem. Awesome! It was definitely one of the frustration points of my devs.. .
Dimension corrections (for G/L entries)
This is one of the Application enhancements that Microsoft worked on – and an important one. I think every one of us at some point either had to correct dimension postings, or create some solution that users could do that themselves. Nice one! At least, we’ll be able to correct dimension on the General Ledger Entries (not the source docs .. but it’s a big step forward!)
Report API allows passing the layout needed for report execution
This is actually quite a nice addition, and will definitely help to (more) adopt the custom report layouts feature! Nice idea!
Client performance improvements
Performance is always a big topic. Especially in the cloud. I remember a big Twitter thread recently that basically questioned again the performance in the cloud .. and the huge difference compared with OnPrem. So I look forward to ANY kind of performance improvements!
The improvements in this topic are somewhat limited, though – they basically applied the same optimizations as we’ve seen regarding factboxes, but now also on Role Centers, where parts will only load when shown (so if you’d scroll down). That said – the role center is an important page to improve nevertheless ;-). I do hope though there are more performance improvements in the queue.. something in the line of better (and more intelligent?) usage of the “SetLoadFields” principle in various scenarios.
Usability enhancements for the Business Central web client
It’s a general title, but when I saw the first item in the list of improvements, I already liked it a lot: “Double-click a record in a list”. Adding “intuitivity” .. cool!
Again, the rest of the points seem – in my limited world – somewhat less important, simply because we either didn’t miss it, didn’t think of it, solved it already differently (like the printing features), .. or anything else. I sure think in most cases, and for many partners, they absolutely have value – if not more than what I listed above!
I decided to have the complete list below, so you’ll find whatever above, also below, divided in the categories that Microsoft has put them in – some with a bit of comments of my own ;-).
Microsoft did some improvements for partners to support heir customers, to admin their tenants and so on.
- Improve the reliability of the database export operation for larger databases with more companies – I never had an issue with time outs during a database backup – so I guess I’m not really working with big databases ;-). I’m sure it’s useful though – because when you really need the backup, and it would time out – that would be really frustrating, I can imagine.
- Improvements for the Delegated Administrators – It seems that delegated admins will be able to better service their customers – mostly focused on the job queue abilities. It sounds really good – and it is. Of course. But … In my opinion, the entire CSP-user-types story should be revised .. big time. It is NOT ok to just be one happy family of admins within a customer’s tenant .. with all kinds of roles and multiple CSP partners.
- Reassign an environment from one Azure Active Directory organization to another (through Microsoft Support) – This is probably very important .. but again something I have never needed. Don’t say “never” though – but on the day I’d need it – at least it will be possible and I’m going to be grateful for it ;-).
It seems that there are quite some new application features .. That’s nice to see. Many people have been wanting more application-updates. Why there or in my “less” favorite section – well – I’m a developer ;-). So .. not really my place to have opinions ;-).
- Assisted setup helps move the task of adjusting item costs to the background
- Automatic creation of lot and serial number information cards
- Bank reconciliation improvements
- Changes in synchronization between contact and customer
- Define lot sizes for various stages of production
- Dimension corrections (for G/L entries)
- More control over settings for default dimensions
- Payment reconciliation journal improvements
- Simplified bank statement file import
Better with Microsoft 365
What Microsoft means with this is simply the collaboration between other Microsoft 365 service. In this release, mostly Teams, Word and cloud printing.
- Look up Business Central contacts from within Microsoft Teams
- Enablement of Word merge in Business Central
- Support cloud printing using Microsoft Universal Print – Microsoft will use its service “Universal Print” to deliver a straightforward printing experience. You’ll be able to send documents and reports to any of the printers defined in your Universal Print management page. While this is probably for many an awesome feature – in our case, we “solved” cloud printing on our own .. so I just hope this new feature doesn’t conflict with our solution ..
Country and regional
Yep, since this version, even more countries will be able to use Business Central:
- Country and regional expansion – Greece
- Country and regional expansion – India
- Country and regional expansion – Romania
- Country and regional expansion – Turkey
Microsoft Power Platform
Power Flower. This must be my personal most underrated topic .. something I really need to start diving much more into than I already did. I will .. at some point .. I promise .. :-/
- Virtual tables for Microsoft Dataverse
- Synchronize item availability from Business Central to Dynamics 365 Sales
- Enable Power BI connector to work with Business Central APIs, instead of with web services only – I didn’t even know that this was not possible yet .. but it’s definitely for the best we’ll be able to consume APIs now!
In terms of the “Modern Clients” (web, tablet, phone), Microsoft focused on performance (I like it!), usability and printing.
- Report API allows passing the layout needed for report execution
- Reports run in the background
- Client performance improvements
- Usability enhancements for the Business Central web client
- Enable cloud printing on mobile app (phone and tablet) and from Microsoft Teams app
- Users can change the assigned printer before printing a report
Modern Development Tools
And oh yes, also for developers, there are improvements :-). Mostly mentioned above.
- Partners can add keys (indexes) to base tables and table extension tables
- Extension validation on upgrade
- Interface – obsolete support
- Report extensibility
- Return record link instead of name when using lookups
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