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 The GUI developer environment has been replaced by Visual Studio Code (VSC), the language is now called AL and it has been greatly enhanced with new objects and methods.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.