Business Central

When considering your ERP system, it is important to select a system that can be adapted and developed to suit your organisation’s needs. To learn more about the potential of Business Central application functionality, and why it is often the ERP application of choice for so many SME companies that want bespoke application functionality, we spoke to our Senior Business Central Developer, Keith How…

Business Central - Keith How at Neuways

Keith How, Senior Business Central Developer at Neuways

“Business Central formerly known as NAV has been around for 34 years, with both the look and feel of the application changing many times. The classic NAV user interface was introduced with NAV 3.0 back in 2002, while the role tailored client interface was introduced with NAV 2009. The next evolution was the Web Client, which was introduced with NAV 2016 – this is the user interface currently used in the latest cloud version, what we know as Business Central.

“The proprietary language used to write the Business Central application is still largely the same as when it was first created. The GUI developer environment has been replaced by Visual Studio Code (VSC), the language is now called AL and it has been greatly enhanced with new objects and methods.

“Developers can therefore read code in any version of the application, and the original, unique, and best features of the language remain. Unlike most other ERP applications, the standard application code is and has always been visible to developers who do not work for the vendor. This enables them to better integrate their code and copy the code design patterns used in it.

“One of the most important features of the language, is the ability to make use of Sum Index flow Technology (SIFT). This technology enables integer and decimal fields to be summed by using virtual rather than real fields. Total fields in a table can therefore never be different from the one their values are derived from. They are always current and can never contain a value different from the sum of all the values that make them up. Being virtual fields, the values they contain are always calculated at run time. This occurs instantly without delay, due to their inclusion within the indexes of the tables, containing the fields used for the virtual total fields.

“With the release of Business Central and the new VSC development environment, it became possible to write application code that is entirely separate from the standard application code, while still being able to interact with and extend it. The standard application code contains thousands of event methods, which when published allow one or more bespoke subscriber methods to listen out for a call from a specific event method to run the code they contain.

Business Central

“Business Central cloud standard application updates can occur automatically and regularly without fear of the bespoke code causing the upgrade to fail. Likewise, unless the event method within the standard application has changed the bespoke code will still run post-upgrade.

“Due to the separation of bespoke code from standard application code, bespoke code can be held in self-contained application extensions. These can be installed and published within the standard application at any time. An application extension is made up of different types of objects. Objects can be new or extend with existing ones. For instance, adding a new field to an existing table involves creating a table extension object.

“Application extensions are used for deploying both bespoke developments written specifically for an individual client, and for add-on development written by a third party. Third party developments will usually contain event methods of their own to allow others to extend the functionality of their add-on development.”

Learn more about the bespoke potential of Business Central, by contacting our ERP experts. Call 01283 753 333 or email for more information.

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