Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central ≠ Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Opinion, by Mark Brummel

Continued from previous posts

My daily driver is a Defender. You tech nerds should know enough but for those of you who don’t, a Land Rover Defender.

It’s 18 years old. I bought it a few months ago after a lot of research. I needed  a car that can carry at least two adults, five kids, preferably more if they bring friends, a dog and luggage.

Mark, where are you going with this?

Some people have a hard time understanding the positioning of NAV vs. Business Central and I am going to use my car to explain this, the way I see it.

Let’s imagine that the Defender is Dynamics NAV and Land Rover is Microsoft.

The Defender has a great heritage. It’s a legendary vehicle that started 70 years ago if you include the Land Rover Series which was the orriginal version starting in 1947. What makes the Defender special is the few changes made to the concept while keeping it updated to modern road standards.

It’s a very flexible car that can be modified and custmized according to your needs. Some modifications however make it hard to move back to where you came from. You can see where I am going right?

You can buy two versions the 90 and 110. Or Business Essentials and Advanced Manufacturing.

It’s not a car for sissies. Don’t buy one if you don’t understand anything about cars. You will get your hands dirty. There are thousands of experts and a strong community. Some experts are so busy you have to book them 18 months in advance (like me). It is however very possible to make simple modifications yourself.

I bought a couple of new seats that I installed myself and I want to change the windows from manual to powerwindows. The back seat is replaced with one from a Iveco Massif which fitted after some small modifications to the chassis.

The frame had some rust and was welded by someone who knows what they are doing.


Let’s compare my Defender to NAV 2009 R2 where you can run both classic and role tailored. Older versions like the 109 Stage One V8 is pure classic and if well maintained they cost a freaking fortune.

The Land Rover Series is the Dos version. Ok? Caprice?

Land Rover updated the Defender in 2004 to what is called the Puma Edition. The price doubled and it came with a nice dash, airconditioning, leather seats, navigation system and a radio that you could actually hear while you were driving. It was updated to match environmental rules. The iconic 5 cylinder 2.5 litre Diesel was replaced by a 2.4 TD4 and more computers were added.

The more advanced cars get the more complex they are to maintain. You need to be more specialized to do troubleshooting.

The Range Rover…

Land Rover did not only build Defenders or Series. The Range Rover was introduced in 1970.

The Range Rover is a more high end vehicle compared to the Defender.

Let’s say that the Range Rover is Axapta.

The Range Rover has evolved in to something that kind of still looks like the orriginal but no living human being can afford buying a new one. Buying a used one is plain stupid because if something is wrong with the electical system you go bankrupt on troubleshooting and maintenance.

If you can’t afford a good one, you certainly cannot afford a bad one.

The new Range Rover is only for Rappers and Pimps and it has outgrown the orriginal target audience.

Land Rover tries desperately to use the Range Rover brand to launch other cars like the Range Rover Evoque, the Range Rover Velar and the Range Rover Sport. Kind of like breaking AX down into small pieces.

So what is Great Plains and Solomon?

This is fun right? So where does Great Plains fit in? Or Solomon?

Like any modern car producer Land Rover had to grow. A purist only needs the Defender but people who are not mechanics also want a cool car with the same logo.

Land Rover launched the Discovery and the Freelander.

The Discovery is a poor mans Range Rover. It will still take you anywhere you want. They are not as customizable as Defenders and don’t hold their economic value over a longer period.

The Freelander has died a while ago. It had the Land Rover logo but everybody who looked at it knew it wasn’t really one.

Back to the Defender, Navision and Business Central

The Defender ended in 2016, on 29 January when the last Land Rover Defender, H166 HUE, rolled off the production line at 09:22hrs GMT. A sad day.

But this year there was great news! The Defender is back! A special 70th anniversary edition was announced! It has a V8 and 400 bhp. It starts at 150.000 GBP.

// Defender Celebrations Adventure Edition 2015 Adventure ...

You can guess in what colors I’m going to respray my 110.

The whole new Defender

In the same year Land Rover also announced a whole new Defender. Let’s have a look.

Land Rover's new Defender rendered | CarTrade


This has nothing to do with my Defender on which I can unbolt everything. Put the welder on and change whatever I like! This is just another modern car that stole a good brand name and reputation!

Business Central ≈ Navision

Although Microsoft is making a lot of money selling Range Rovers, Defenders and Discoveries they are desperately looking for a Golf. They envy Volkswagen. (Read Quickbooks…)

Project Madeira aka Business Edition was a big fail. Trying to make a comodity out of a customizable solution was wrong. Releasing Extensions V1 also did a lot of harm in our ecosystem. Should have never been released.

Those poor Solomon and Great Plains partners. They took a look at Project Madeira because they were forced to. And they saw a stripped down version of NAV that was incomplete with a terrible extension experience.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is based on Dynamics NAV. It has the same code base, but there is no native Windows client, only a Web Client that does not have all the features the Windows Client has. It does not have DotNet support and it does not allow you to replace code with your own code.

You can use Extensions to add functionality to it. But Dynamics NAV was never architected for this and the latest blog by one of the Microsoft MVP’s makes clear how rediculous the model is and how complicated it has become.

And you know what? It’s is still not good enough! There are 9 (NINE!!!) ways to extend an Insert and you know what people want? They want to either replace what Microsoft did or place their code in the middle.

The latter is possible with a tidious process where Microsoft will place an event manually in the code where the developer will take a dependency on that event being exactly there and the rest of the code not changing. These events are only shipped every 12 months. Which customer can wait that long?

What will we get in October?

I’m holding my breath for what we will get in October. NAV will die. 2018 is the last release ever and then we will get an on-premise version of Business Central.

Will “it” be the 70th anniversairy edition of the good old Defender? Will C/Side be there one more time? Can loyal customers upgrade one more time?

And then what? How will we move forward? There will always be customers who want to buy that special edition that they can customize.

Maybe we should all convert to the Mercedes G-Class.


Or, well… maybe… but let’s discuss that in the next blog…


  1. GrumpyNAVdev says:

    The name NAV is going to disappear, but so did the names Financials and Navision. Who cares anymore? Many developers and consultants keep calling it Navision even though this name deprecated in 2005 – that is 13 years ago! 🙂

    The current abilities in the development environment are staying in the OnPrem edition according to Esben Nyhuus Kristoffersen (Principal Software Development Engineer at Microsoft):

    “To use the extension model is recommended but optional for On-Premise. e.g. you can make changes to all objects, compile them and deploy the entire app on premise.”

    And later:

    “The change is that the language is AL developed in VsCode instead of C/AL in C/SIDE for the entire application.

    You will get all the core objects in AL and can deploy them with your own changes. No restrictions for on-prem.

    You will still benefit from moving to extensions where it is possible. The isolation from the base application will make upgrade and migration to the cloud easier, but if it is your choice.”


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mark Brummel says:

      I’ll blog about this later, as we proceed with this. The thought of having to use Visual Studio Code to change a 5000 object project and having to recompile the whole thing each time you make a change is terrifying. Let alone the possible PowerShell they will shove down our **** with that.


      1. GrumpyNAVdev says:

        Well, yes, but I consider these issues to be solvable. As long as it can be done, then either Microsoft or the community will make it easy to work with. I’m hardly ever using Powershell even though I have been on Waldo’s extensive courses (Sorry, Waldo :-)) I prefer using ServiceTierAdministration from tegos, and CodeGenius Studio from Gerard Robbertson and several other tools. I’m sure these or new tools will fill any gaps Microsoft leaves in the next generation IDE for NAV.


    2. Slawek Guzek says:

      Esben Nyhuus Kristoffersen: “To use the extension model is recommended but optional for On-Premise. e.g. you can make changes to all objects, compile them and deploy the entire app on premise.”

      On the one hand, it is a bit of relief – and least NAV will not die completely. If they locked down standard objects entirely I guess the BC’s adoption rate by bigger partners having some more serious solutions built in NAV, and not only **thin** IP layer, would be a round and full zero.

      On the other hand: Compile and deploy the entire app just to make a few changes to some pages or report? Or change one-2 lines in code to fix some simple bug???? What about data? Is it going to be unloaded and reloaded each time you deploy the app? So much about the ‘easy upgrade’ 🙂 Yeah, the code will be easy to upgrade… It just would be a bit hard to find that 2 days long service window to apply the fix 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Slawek Guzek says:

        I’ve just forgotten to mention that Cronus upgrades will be fine, so no problem here really.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Where Land Rover went wrong, is that they wanted to expand into markets where the Land Rover was not suitable. Land Rover was a simple tough dependable off road 4×4 it was never meant to be a luxury over priced town car. The Range Rover sort of covered that market, but still people that bought a Range Rover expected it to be as solid and reliable as a Land Rover, and were very disappointing when they realized that it was all a pretty facade with very little underneath. BUT they were easy to sell.

    This abandonment of their core customer base, and focus on new markets meant that brand loyalty went out the window, and suddenly instead of competing in the off road 4×4 market where they were the one to beat, they tried to sell into the luxury SUV market. Simultaneously ruining their loyal base and failing in a market they had no chance of competing in. Jeep did similar, but more sensibly made a clear separation between the Wrangler as an off road 4×4 and the Cherokee as a luxury car that maybe you would drive on a sandy road once in a while.

    But where it really went down hill was the BMW/Ford/Tata era. Land Rover was bought and sold by companies that wanted the brand name and the loyal customer base, but with no real interest in the actual Land Rover vehicle..So suddenly they are stuck with a car they don’t know what to do with.

    The lesson here is the same as Black Berry or Nokia or any other company that had a very specialized product that had a very loyal customer base, and that lesson is that you can’t take a solid brand name and stick it on something new unless that new thing has all the qualities of the original.

    What we end up with is a Mercedes G-Wagon competitor. …, but then why not just go out and buy a G-Wagon.


    1. One thing to ponder though … in it’s entire history of production, they made about 2 million defenders, Ford sell that many F-100s every 2 years. And in today’s world, sales are the only thing that matters.


      1. Slawek Guzek says:

        That’s exactly why they do not want to sell anymore. They want to rent and live off the subscriptions.

        Which I hate personally. I’d prefer to buy, pay once (finance can be arranged by a dedicated finance institution), and use it as and when I like.

        Microsoft is getting definitely too big. It should be split into smaller businesses; one doing servers, another providing SaaS, yet another doing business and desktop applications – so all the others could have a level playing field.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Not sure it is wise to say NAV will die. Firstly because it is not correct? Secondly, how can you expect 1 prospect to purchase NAV over the next months if NAV people are saying it is ending… which is not correct…


    1. Mark Brummel says:

      Dude, this is my opinion, my blog and as long as we have freedom of speach I can share my opinion.

      I would absolutely love to be wrong, but where Microsoft wants to take Business Edition is not what I call NAV.


  4. You make a very good point Mark but I personally see the current evolution as a positive thing.
    I’m currently working in an end user where apart from NAV every other application is the latest, fastest better, etc,Where evolving our systems almost on a daily bases is the cost of doing business in the retail space. In this environment I often have a hard time “selling” NAV as the way to go for our ERP solution. We the changes I can see being pushed I can only expect tha NAV or what ever it will be called in the future) will be able to keep up with an evolving world.
    If the code base changes that is only part of evolution, whether or not we will keep using it it will depend on how well it evolves.
    PS: I do agree that extensions as they are are not usable, specially not for highly changing organizations

    Liked by 1 person

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