Objects Manager

Overview

The NAVCore Objects Manager is a simple tool for moving customized, Dynamics NAV objects, from the Development to the Test and Production environments.  It can be used by Customers and Developers alike.

For Customers, this will simplify the learning curve and make it easier to transfer development objects to the Production environment, without having to involve their Microsoft Partners, when testing is complete.  They do not need to use the NAV Development Environment but it does need to be installed on their system.  They do not need the Object Development license either.  In addition, it will retain the versions to allow customers to easily revert should there be a problem with the change.

For Developers, this can save them a tremendous amount of time when moving modifications from the Development to the Test environments, especially when the changes involve multiple objects.  On average, it can take 20-30 seconds to export the object from the development environment, switch to, then import into the test environment.  That's for each object, and it must be in the right order as well.  If, for example, a new field or function was added to a table or codeunit and is subsequently referenced by a page or even another table or codeunit, an import will result in an error if the objects were not imported in the right order.  This means the developer must switch back, import the required object, then re-import the affected object.  Imagine having to do this multiple times, throughout the day, when coding and testing developments!

In addition, the tool includes a built-in text comparison tool that shows the difference between the Development and the chosen environment.  This is especially useful for reviewing and documenting changes, prior to transferring the objects.

How to use
Before it can be used, you must set the required settings.
  • Connection - Set the server where the database resides. All databases must be located on the same server.
  • Database - Provide the name of the database for the development, test, and production environments.
  • Path - The storage path is where the files outputted by this application will reside.  To keep the size small, all versions of the same object are compressed into a single zip file.
  • NAV finsql.exe - To be able to transfer objects, this is a required app and is essentially your NAV Development IDE.  This application does not interact with NAV directly but instead will use NAV’s application to import and/or export objects from and to NAV.  If not found, try installing the development IDE on the machine.
Transferring or Reverting Objects
  • Select the type of object to transfer and the application will automatically detect and list all objects in the Development environment that has a modification date greater than those of the Production environment's.
  • Choose the Version
    • If the chosen version is a Development version, which the application will always choose by default, you’ll have the option to Transfer.
    • If the chosen version is anything other than Development, you’ll have the option to Revert.
  • Click Transfer or Revert (depending on the chosen Version) to import the selected version into the chosen environment.  Upon a successful operation, you’ll get the message Import Succeeded. Note: This application relies on the finsql.exe application to export the object from the Development environment and import into the chosen, Test or Production, environment.  When transferring to the Test environment, the operation will be immediate.  When transferring to the Production environment, you’ll get a prompt to be extra certain, before it will proceed.
Object Versions
  • This application can keep as many historical versions of the object as you see fit.  You can set the amount under Settings > Preferences.
  • New versions are saved only when transferring to the Production environment.
  • To keep it clean, versions are based on the Modified date.  For example, if you modified and transferred the object to the production environment in the morning but later found a bug in the afternoon, which you immediately fixed and did another transfer;  Instead of creating a new version of the object for that day, the existing version for that date is overwritten.
Navigating Differences
  • With the built-in comparison tool, quickly see differences highlighted in red for deleted text or green for inserted text.  This is especially useful for detecting unexpected changes in either a multi-developer environment or when updates have been applied to the replacement but not the development object.
  • Use the arrow keys Left and Right to navigate, respectively, between the Previous and Next differences.
  • The text will change to bold and blue to indicate the difference that was encountered.  The highlight color will remain the same so we can tell whether they are deleted or inserted texts.
Finding Text
  • Switch to the Find tab, enter a text to find and click on the Find button.  If the text was found, then a set of navigation buttons will appear.
  • The navigation buttons under the Find text tab works similarly to when you navigate differences.
  • Matching texts that are found will be highlighted.