Microsoft Dynamics 365: 2021 release Wave 1 plan

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 ;-).

Report extensibility

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!

All Features

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 ;-).

Administration

Microsoft did some improvements for partners to support heir customers, to admin their tenants and so on.

Application

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 ;-).

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.

Country and regional

Yep, since this version, even more countries will be able to use Business Central:

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 .. :-/

Modern Clients

In terms of the “Modern Clients” (web, tablet, phone), Microsoft focused on performance (I like it!), usability and printing.

Modern Development Tools

And oh yes, also for developers, there are improvements :-).  Mostly mentioned above.

Onboarding

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