Let me confess, I never had taken Microsoft flow that seriously in last 1 year. I was too busy with Dynamics NAV and used to feel that it has limited functionality.
But of late, I believe my love affair with D365 Business Central has changed that impression completely. With Business Central, I started looking things beyond Dynamics 365 and seeing technology collaboration in a much more interesting way.
As I am doing plenty of things independently nowadays and started tracking what’s happening D365 Business Central, I thought let’s try catching all the tweets with #MSDYN365BC [a common tag for Business Central] and receive notifications on the same using Flow. And it was a big mistake 🙂 choosing that hashtag [I will come to this point later]
I quickly signed up for Microsoft flow and jumped into building a new flow from scratch and here is the end result of my experiment –
Signed up for a free Microsoft Flow account and it presented with hell lot of Connector options.
Established my connections to Twitter. Connection with my D365 Business Central instance has happened automatically as the same mail id is used to create that instance too. These connections can also be established at the time of creation of the Flow itself. [I believe that’s natural and easy]
Created my Flow fromscratch with a simple purpose – “Whenever Someone tweets with #MSDYN365BC, an email gets fired to email@example.com and it connects to my Business Central Instance and creates a new contact [of type person] with the tweeter user screen name”
Saved it and started testing it. How?
Switched to test mode and waited for somebody to tweet with #MSDYN365BC. But I could not hold back my patience for long and fired a simple tweet with #MSDYN365BC myself
And here it came up with a graphical display of my flow steps and status of each step.
Probably it just took 15 minutes for me to create it from scratch and it worked without a hitch.
Note: creating a contact in my business central instance is not a default action available in Microsoft Flow. I have exposed the Contact card page as web service [I Named it TwitterContacts] in my instance to make it available in Flow.
You don’t need to do a great deal of configuration to achieve this flow and things are pretty graphical and intuitive. It just matters of time before you get used to the jargons and imagine something innovative for your new flow. For me, it was pretty simple and here is my flow in edit-expanded mode –
It’s pretty self-explanatory. Select the Connector you want to work with. Here it is Twitter and I defined search text #MSDYN365BC. This becomes my Flow trigger point and this will get fired when anybody tweets with #MSDYN365BC
Then an Action. In my case, I choose a notification which will send me a mail with the text “Here is another one with #MSDYN365BC from + Twitter ‘UserName” [this Username is a dynamics content from Twitter and you can add similar field level information of the tweets in your mail body]
I extended it further and added another action where it will connect to my Business Central instance and insert a new contact for each tweet [with twitter username as dynamics content].
Being a popular hashtag, #MSDYN365BC, the flow really started filling up my mailbox pretty quickly and I had to stop the flow after some time :).
That was pretty simple. But things may get interesting with how much you being innovative with your imagination. But possibilities are immense as –
You can custom build your connector
You can custom build your actions
if you have the control over the application where you are customizing. for example, I could create a custom action to “create new contact” as I had the control over my Business Central instance
I will come back with a more detailed Flow creation post soon. Till then, Happy reading :). If you have any specific idea about a flow, do let me know, we can jointly make the POSSIBLE
For more information, do write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Yes! you heard is right. You no longer need a partner/developer license to create a new component / customize in Dynamics 365 Business Central.
Conditions Apply! I am sorry the above statement is only true if you are developing using VS Code and AL language extension. But who is developing with C/AL and C/SIDE anymore? Not me definitely
Not only partner/developer license Microsoft did a brilliant job in doing away with object licensing. Business Central customers no longer need to buy objects if you are developing something for them using the objects from 50000-99999 range. Isn’t that cool?
Note: This holds true for Cloud version of Business Central at this moment. This may not be true for the upcoming Business Central On-Premise version [Roadmap says Fall 2018]. This will be more clearly stated by Microsoft when On-Premise Business Central is released.
Here are the excerpts from Microsoft documentation on Objects range licensing for your development –
“In Business Central running the Microsoft cloud, we operate with three different object ranges in terms of licensing. Developing for Business Central is done using Visual Studio Code with the AL Language extension. Developing for Dynamics NAV can be done either by using Visual Studio Code with the AL Language extension or by using C/SIDE with an appropriate license file.”
All tenants in Business Central as of April 2nd, 2018 are able to freely use objects in the following ranges:
As in current on-premise implementations this range is for per tenant/customer customizations. A partner can develop an extension tailored to the individual tenant to fit the needs. The partner developing this will do this through either using a sandbox tenant (currently in preview) or by obtaining a Docker image of the current release of Business Central that matches the version of the tenant. Once the development is done, the extension can be deployed to the individual tenant
This is the RSP range which partners that have an ISV solution for on-premise have access to. By April 2nd, 2018 the partner can choose to use this range for developing extensions that can be used either in Dynamics NAV on-premise or in Business Central in the Microsoft Cloud. When used in Business Central these extensions are obtained as apps from appsource.microsoft.com.
This range continues as it is today. Partners can obtain, for extension development that runs in Business Central in the Microsoft Cloud. This range is only available for extension development and only in Business Central. These extensions are obtained as apps from appsource.microsoft.com.
So if you have migrated your skillset from C/SIDE and C/AL, its high time you do the same. And you will feel amazing. I myself moved from C/SIDE and C/AL more than a year back and I am bowled over this new development tool.
If you need any help in the process, do give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Remember how kiddish 🙂 I was, when I expressed my frustration in LinkedIn because my favorite Dynamics NAV moving from On-Premise to cloud [Dynamics 365 for Financials] and the web client was pathetic? The lack of rich features in web client what we always experienced in Dynamics NAV windows client was pretty repulsive for me.
Things have changed so much since I wrote that and the upcoming features of Microsoft Dynamics Business Central [to be release between October ’18 and March ’19] has really bowled me over.
What Exactly was most prominent feature missing in Dynamics 365 for Financials or Business Central?
For me it was always the absence of classic FlowFilter facility. Mind it, Flowfield was always there. But you didn’t have the power to filter it out with a flowfilter. And I don’t need mention here how SIFT [Sum Index Flow Technology] has helped us in so many situations summarising data very effectively.
Now Business Central Web Client is getting a major revamp with it’s october ’18 release and with my Insider Build, I got to experience few of those features first hand now. What made me happy is the introduction of a filter pane and availability of FlowFilter.
You can check this up with your Business Central instance as well. Open Chart of Accounts [or any screen where there is a possibility of applying Flowfilter], Click on the ALL>Show Filter Panel:
This will open up the filter pane in the left hand side of the screen. The filter pane will have all filter options similar to our windows RTC client. And “Filter Totals By” is our flow filter:
So that was favourite feature of Business Central coming up in october. You can get a comprehensive list of features to be released in october in the below link –