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Using Patterns to improve Usability and Effectiveness

One of the great things about Dynamics NAV has always been the way it leverages a set of simple building blocks to solve common business problems – in technical terms, we call these patterns.

Patterns give us a repeatable structure for concepts that successfully solve a problem. In fields as diverse as music, biology and architecture, all the way to business problems such as how to efficiently manage the double entry bookkeeping for any company, using patterns can give us a real head start in creating solutions that simply work.

Taking inspiration from architect Christopher Alexander and his classic books from the 1970’s A Pattern Language and A Timeless Way of Building, and the software ‘Gang of Four’ with their 1990’s book Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object Oriented Software, the developers of NAV created their own patterns to make NAV a consistent, easy to use and efficient system.

Many of these patterns are elegantly described in the book by Mark Brummel Learning Dynamics NAV Patterns and I highly recommend this as essential reading for any NAV developer.

For managing basic data such as customers, vendors, items and GL accounts, they created the Master Data pattern to ensure consistency across the system.

For accounting transactions, the snappily named Journal Template-Batch-Line pattern is used across most areas of NAV such as the general ledger, jobs, inventory and fixed assets. This gives us an easily learned way of managing the predefined data for the journal using the template, separate to the data for each batch and the data to be processed in the lines.

Other widely used patterns within NAV include the Entry pattern for storing historical data, the Document pattern for managing the paper trail of transactions and of course the Document History pattern for archiving documents.

The use of these and other standard patterns within NAV not only makes it easier to learn and use, but also faster and cost effective to customize and upgrade.

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