There’s a lot of talk right now about Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central version 14. Microsoft recently extended the end date for buying new version 14 licenses (Written in August 2020), this thing cannot die?
So what’s so about special about version 14?
Version 14 was the last version that supports C/Side. C/Side is the classic development environment, first introduced in 1995/1996. In version 15 the base application became an app or an extension just like all the new apps we’re creating.
Version 14 also supports extensions, in a version that usable for app development (yes, NAV2018 introduced extension, but that was a limited version, missing many essential events).
So version 14 is great?
Yes, version 14 is awesome, and a necessary step when converting from C/Side an extension based solution.
The path is simple, upgrade your C/Side solution to version 14, use Uplifting to move the data to your new extension and you’re ready to either go to the cloud or upgrade to the latest on-premises version.
Microsoft’s Cloud Migration tool supports version 14, so as soon as you’re on 14 without any C/Side customization, you’re ready for the cloud.
So version 14 is bad?
No, but if your solution is C/Side based, and that’s the reason you’re “stuck” with version 14, then yes, that’s quite bad.
ISV and partners have had since late 2017 (Release of NAV2018, aka version 11) to work on their solution and transition to an extension. We have now passed the start of 2021 and version 18 is due in less than 2 months.
But the ISV solution I want is still C/Side?
Buying and installing a new version 14 Business Central, because an ISV solution is still based on C/Side, seems like a terrible business decision, You’re simply installing technical debt.
The vendors have had almost 4 years to get their solutions to extensions, the community has supplied with tons of tools and shared their experience about this. If an ISV in 2020 is still clinging to C/Side, I’ll suggest finding another solution that is more future-proof from a vendor that’s willing to invest in their products.
I’m still installing version 14, now what?
Let me list some of your issues: (apart from missing the added features in new versions)
- Upgrading to the monthly cumulative update is costly and requires lots of man-power (if you ISV even releases CU updates every month).
- Installing other ISV solutions might only support different CUs making it even more complicated to keep your system safe and updated.
- Every customization made will require re-write/re-work when upgrading.
- If the ISV solution you’re buying requires the Windows client (aka RTC), then be prepared for extra work when upgrading to the web client.
- Access to apps (as sold on AppSource) gets more and more limited every day.
- Integration becomes more expensive, the “system objects” in 14 are very limited compared to newer versions making it much more complicated to do certain integrations.
- The CRM integration is locked on the non-CDS based integration, potentially forcing you to customize the integration, only to have to redo that when upgrading.
Let mw know on Twitter @eHougaard if I missed something on this list?
All-in-all, you’re installing technical debt and you should walk into that with open eyes and an open wallet.
(I also know of ISV solutions that are stuck on version 13, even worse).