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Halloween “Summit”: A Microsoft Dynamics NAV/Business Central Developer’s Horror Story

A Dynamics BC NAV Developer Horror Story

It was a chilling night with fall breezes blowing as I drove through rural Georgia on my way to UG Summit 2019 in Orlando. The countryside was beautiful, but I had no desire to stay there. Yet, that’s exactly what happened.

As my car began to sputter, I remembered I had planned to stop for gas, but with the excitement of Summit, I’d simply forgotten. “No worries!” I thought. “They’re sure to have a AAA partner here that can bring me gas.” I pulled over just in time before the engine shut off. I pulled out my cell phone and got the AAA number off the back of my card. I dialed, but then my heart sank! “No cell coverage? Seriously?” I shouted. I must have tried the number a dozen times before finally giving up and tossing the phone back into the passenger seat.

I sat there, silently trying to decide what to do. It was beginning to storm, and I knew it would be a big one. It had been forecasted to be what we call a “gulley washer” in the South. Lightening began to flash around me; I knew the storm was close. And that’s when I saw it! There was a barn off to my right. It was far off the highway, but not so far that I couldn’t walk it. To my culinary desire and unbelief, I saw a sign along the path to the barn that said, “Free Pecans”…oh my! The the aroma of roasted pecans began to lure me out of the car.

I grabbed my emergency blanket from the trunk and of course my work-issued laptop. Never would I leave that baby alone in a car! I switched out of my shiny loafers and into my sneakers and began to make my way to the barn. The wind was beating at my back with the bitterness of winter! Leaves were being tossed around, and the smell of something began to fill the air.

To the left of the barn I saw it. It was a pumpkin patch gone bad, with withering vines and pumpkins rotting in the damp soil. It had the stench of sweat and vinegar! The flock of crows I could hear were enjoying the nasty meat of the gourds and screeching as they fought for their spot in the patch.

I noticed a faint light in the barn and followed the path inside. Oddly enough, when I got there – there was no light at all! And then the rain began, the thunder grew louder, and the lightning flashes were lighting up everything around me.

I continued to beat myself up with thoughts of, “Idiot! You had time to stop for gas! Why didn’t you?” I pulled out my phone to try the AAA number again. Still, no cell signal.

I crumpled into the corner of one of the first horse stalls on the right, which had a little hay on the ground, and wrapped my blanket around me. It was at that moment the lightning lit up the ground around me, and I saw my most feared enemy – field mice! They were in the hay! I WANTED TO SCREAM! But for fear they would see my wide-open mouth and jump down my throat, clawing their way past my tonsils, I could not open my mouth! I was in too much fear to move. They finally retreated from the stall. By now my skin was crawling. I thought of fleas being in the hay, or what about ticks? Could I get lime disease? Thousands of thoughts were keeping me from any form of rest.

I decided to reach out to my husband and let him know where I was, and then I remembered….no cell signal. But wait! Could it be? I have WIFI – yet no cell signal? This is crazy, I thought, and then I saw the name of the WIFI signal – Homicide Unit 73. I snickered to myself, thinking someone must have a sense of humor. I connected and jumped on Facebook messenger and left him a message with my location as close as I could convey, and I asked him to call AAA. Then I sat there, waiting for a response. But noticing the time, I realized it was far after his bedtime, and he wouldn’t see the message until the next morning.

I felt I was out of options. I grew up on a farm, but I wasn’t raised in a barn. I’d certainly never slept in one! But the storm was raging, and I’d be drenched if I went back to the car to sleep. I didn’t feel that would be a safe option, either; I’ve heard the tragic endings of people sleeping in cars. I felt my odds were better at the barn. I put my laptop under my head and decided I would simply have to sleep. Otherwise, tomorrow at Summit I’d be that person who couldn’t stay awake in any sessions!

I was about to nod off when I heard it. It was the sound of chains rattling but confusingly mixed with something like a wooden pole scraping on the rocky path into the barn. I thought, “It must be a cow, or a horse…some large animal seeking shelter.” But fear kept me low and quiet in the corner.

Then I saw it! It entered the barn door within a few feet of me. It was holding a lantern with the flame burning bright, a cloak with a hood covering its body. I saw a flash of metal and realized it was a reaper’s blade. “Why would anyone be reaping grain at this hour?” I first thought. But that thought quickly left my head as I saw who was being dragged behind it.

I’d seen him many times. He was so crumpled and weary from being dragged around, server to server, thousands of times a day, that he wasn’t even putting up a fight! His clothing was muddied as well from all the copy/paste marks. There were scratches and dust from burned coal covering his face. He had been to hell and back. But there he was, the noble Dynamics NAV developer’s License, being dragged by his tied hands behind the Reaper.

But where was he headed? What was the Reaper doing with a license? They’re typically reserved for partners and developers who are skilled – not for a Reaper! Could the Reaper BE a developer? Thinking back to some of the code issues that harmed databases, I began to think I was on the right track.

About that time, the loft of the barn began to glow with tiny specs of light. I recognized the yellow-green light and amber glow. I’d seen it in the eyes of many developers after 36-hour code binges. It came from the Mountain Dew and Red Bull they consumed as they missed meals to keep up the momentum. Then I saw their faces peering out of the loft! They were zombie-like, eyes deeply set and dark circles all around. They were singing some sort of chant or incantation. I could swear it was something about freedom, and I clearly heard the word “death” more than once. I was completely confused at this point—but not moving so much as a fingertip! No one knows the sanity level of a code binger! I stayed put, still and quiet in my corner.

The Reaper moved forward, and I saw in the light of his lantern a table with a large vat and lid. He flung Developer’s License onto the table. I heard the groanings as the Reaper picked him up. The Reaper then removed the top of the vat, and steam that smelled of rotten tomatoes arose. The Reaper shoved License into the vat and began to build a fire under it.

Then the screams and cries began! I felt like crying but was overcome with fear to the point of shaking. License was suffocating in the heat! The noise went on for about an hour, and then….silence. On that fall night, my old companion, Developer’s License, was no more.

I waited to see what the Reaper would do next, fearful that he might catch a glimpse of me. But at that point he was joined by someone else who apparently had been in the barn the whole time. She came from the back, even thought there was no door at the back. She was covered in a dark blue robe and had money flowing from her pockets, big wads of money! I said to myself, “What does she hope to do with all that money in a barn?” I could tell she was a fashion maven; the little sail logo on the blue robe had to be Nautica, I thought. It was at that moment I remembered the “Free Pecans” sign that lured me in. I was getting hungry, but I didn’t see any pecans.

The lady in blue was coming in, and I heard an older female voice grow louder and closer. “…and I love pecan pie, pecans on my sweet potato casserole, and on top of my fudge! My grandbabies just love my cooking! After working all day, that’s my favorite thing to do. I cook with pecans all the time. I’m so happy to find that you have them – and FREE!” I then realized she had been lured there, just like me, by the smell of pecans.

But wait….hadn’t I seen her before? And then it happened. An error of some sort occurred, and she made the familiar ping noise! It was Windows Client! I’d worked with her for over 20 years now. I saw her face every day, but never had met her in person. I wanted to say hi, to finally meet her. I can be a bit spacey sometimes, so I started to move from my cozy spot to speak to her. But then I heard a scream like no other! It chilled me to my bones! I covered myself with the blanket and tried to cover my ears. It went on for hours, and finally…there was no noise at all. “She’s done,” proclaimed the lady in the blue robe. And the Reaper added her to the vat.

“What is going on here?” I thought. “First License, and now the Windows Client?” I thought for a minute I must be dreaming, but I gave myself a strong pinch and realized I was wide awake. I sat there in silence for a while, hoping the storm would subside and I could make a run for my car in the dark. Surely no one would be near my car! Then I remembered….I forgot to lock it.

From the upstairs loft I heard something LOUD and ANGRY! There was a struggle. I assumed a developer had suffered a code review that erupted into a brawl. But then, they fell down the steep ladder that gave way to the loft. There, crumpled on the ground in a pile, were my old friends: Table Designer, with legs bent in a certain to be broken form. Page Designer slashed and bleeding. Then Object Designer, the Father of them all, was pushed from the loft onto the pile. They were all in pieces, apparently torn apart by the code bingers in the loft. It was a bloody mess! The smell of blood and embalming fluid filled the air! I wanted to toss my cookies, but I remembered I had not stopped for gas, so no cookies for me! Again, I emotionally kicked my own rear as I heaved at the stench!

The code binging zombies began to quiet and fell into a comatose sleep. I sat there silently, realizing the world I lived in just changed dramatically! What would I do without Window Client and Object Designer? How would we have code quality without a License? As I sat there pondering my future without all my friends, I decided maybe instead of Wendy’s I could get a job a Panera!

I became so very tired. I nodded off in the corner of the barn for just a few seconds. But quickly my amygdala fired up and reminded me…MICE! There was no way I was going to get any sleep. Yes, the code bingers were scary, but they were knocked out in the loft. The mice were still in the stall with me, I feared. And we all know that it only takes one mouse bite to cause you extreme harm! My only comfort was in my hopes of a snake finding the mouse first. I was awake for yet another hour or so, praying for that snake to come.

I began to hear muttering from the sleeping code bingers in the loft. I could tell they were code drunk. I could hear them talking in their sleep about breakpoints in the debugger. It seemed they were collaborating in their sleep, arguing over where they should set the breakpoints. And then I heard them whisper, “Caption ML is gone. I just slashed him.” As all developers know, Caption ML is our friend when we want to use NAV’s language translation skills. “What do you mean GONE?” I thought silently to myself. What is going on with my beloved NAV environment? I felt like crying from the grief, but the shock overcame my tears.

Then I smelled something not so unpleasant but not familiar. He came in the door. He was dressed nicely, black suit, purple tie, yellow cufflinks, red pocket square, blue shiny shoes. To be honest, he looked like a disco light had exploded! His name was “Al”, and I could tell from the developers in the attic that they revered him. They all began to circle around him and listen to everything he said.

What I heard next I could not believe…but with the night’s events, I knew it had to be true. “Al” as they called him, spoke loudly, “CAL is dead! I am your friend now!” The developers began to shout with joy, jumping around as if they’d just woken from a full day of restful sleep.

Daylight was beginning to peek through the boards of the barn. I could see the sun was rising. With the code bingers, the Reaper, the lady in the blue robe, and “Al” all partying in the loft, I decided it was a great time to slip out. I quickly gathered my laptop and dashed out the door. As I got back to my car, I realized I’d left my blanket behind, but there was NO WAY I wanted to go back. The mice could have it! I was happy where I was in the safety of my car!

About that time my phone rang. It was AAA! My sweet hubby had seen the message and gotten them on the line. As we talked on the phone, I saw their lights in my rear-view mirror. The mechanic gassed up my car, and I was back on my way to Summit.

“WOW!” I thought, “Just wait till everyone at Summit hears what I just saw!” I knew it would be a brand-new day in a brand-new world.

So friends, our adventure begins as new as the morning after our horror story:

  • The Developer granules of the D365BC/NAV license are no longer needed.  All you need is to know how to develop in D365/BC  and you can! 
  • C/AL code is no longer used.  It has been replaced with Al code, which is created in Visual Studio Code.  The black background and brightly colored syntax resemble Al’s black suit and colored accessories!  So we can bid adieu peacefully to the outdated Object Designer.
  • The Windows client has been detracted giving way to full mobility.  Now you can use NAV from your phone or any internet enabled device.  It’s just a URL away.
  • All development will be deployed as extensions.  There are no more objects being updated and FOB file generation.
  • With BC15, which was just released, it is once again possible to update standard code.  But why would we?  If you’re doing extensions for all other changes, be kind to your database and do extensions for standard code modifications as well.  Your next upgrade project will be shorter and less costly.

And that’s only the beginning of our brand new world! Happy Fall everyone!

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