I first want to thank the 92.898 visitors to my blog in 2021. It has been my pleasure to share with the community, and 2021 have been the best so far.
This time, I would like to summarize my tips on what to learn and tools to use that can further bring value to our customers. I’m quite sure that there are many other things to learn and use also, and feel free to add them to the comments. So here we go:
This is your best investment on your career! It will show that you take knowledge seriously and that you are actively investing in yourself. It also brings value to customers, as it is clearer to customers what they are paying for. I urge customers to acknowledge and have more focus on preferably using certified consultants as they bring much more value into your projects. What you should invest in is the Fundamentals, Associate and Expert certifications. If you don’t have the time or don’t see the value in objectively documenting your knowledge, then I think you maybe have chosen the wrong profession. Working with Dynamics 365 is all about learning and sharing, and the speed of innovation exponential. Playing “catch-up” on knowledge is not the rights attitude. And don’t cheat by memorizing questions and answers from sites that provide this, as this is not true knowledge.
When working with Dynamics 365 we use a lot of additional tools that can help us speed things up. Here is my list of tools I use as a consultant.
|Tool||What I use it for|
|Office365||Everybody uses this, and it must be on the top of my list|
|DevOps||I really love DevOps and use it a lot for running entire D365 implementations. But I have made a few improvements with new work-item-types like Process, Deliverables, Questions, Data entity etc|
|Visual Studio 2019 and Visual Studio Code||These are mandatory tools for development. For eCommerce I use the Visual Studio Code, and for X++/C# code I use Visual Studio 2019. I’m really looking forward to Visual Studio 2022 and the support of .NET 6, as this will bring massive gains in performance to the Dynamics 365 stack.|
|Free tool to make architectural drawings. I just loving this tool to simplify the complex in written materials I deliver to my customers. Just as good (or even better) than Visio.|
|Macro Recorder||Having a tool that takes care of repetitive tasks is important. I have created myself a library for recordings that simulate real transactions like a POS taking transactions, Sales orders, and creating items. I’m also using RSAT, but the Macro Recorder is sometimes faster to spin-up and execute for doing minor repetitive tasks.|
|JetBrains dotPeek||As I work a lot in the Dynamics 365 Commerce area, there are a lot of code that is not available on the commerce stack. With this tool, I can decompile most components to better understand why I get the behavior and actually read the code. It also has excellent search capabilities.|
|Agent Ransack||The amount of code that exists with Dynamics 365 (F&O) can be overwhelming. Agent Ransack allows me to search through all X++ code quite easily. If I encounter an issue or an error message I can within minutes find the exact source code and to understand how we can resolve the issue.|
|Postman||This is my tool to develop and test out API’s. It allows me to simulate integrations and also to unit-test before shipping any code.|
|Recurring Integrations Scheduler||For simplified file-based integrations I love this tool. Within minutes I can set up a quite advanced async integration that is reliable and cost effective.|
|D365fo.tools||A set of tools that will assist you when working with Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations development / demo machines. Will save you hours by automating a lot of scripts.|
Other paid tools and ISV’s that are in my backpack
|Name||What I use it for|
|FSB Smart reservation||For many years I have really liked how FSB is approaching item allocation and reservation. Also keep in mind that the people behind these tools are also the same that created the first lines of X++ on Axapta. I always present this ISV to customers that have a lot of logistics, and this ISV solution enhances some important aspects and visibility to your on-hand situation and automates the item reservations.|
|Amicis||When it comes to self-checkout solutions and in the food and hospitality business, then this is the go-to solution. The people behind Amicis have a life-long experience in this segment and just great guys to work with.|
|ExFlow||Invoice processing and AP-automation is a very important aspect, and this ISV solves it just elegantly. Easy to setup and install and is close to a mandatory component in any implementation.|
|Docentric||I hope that one day we don’t use reports or form-letters anymore. But having a visually appealing invoice and purchase order is important as this shows professionality on your brand and how the marked should see you.|
|BarTender||The ability to print labels and program RFID into labels is important for the physical world. I have always liked how easy it is to print labels with this tool.|
|Paintshop Pro||This is my preferred tool for editing pictures. I’m sure there are better options out there, but I have been using this tool for years and therefore it exists on my list.|
|Ardoq||The architecture relationships can be challenging to describe using tools like Visio. Often, we see that great work is done, but not used to the potential. An alternative is to use cloud-based mapping tools as ardoq, that covers most aspects in documenting relationships between business processes, applications, roles, risks and transitions.|
Sites I use and visit a lot
|Name||What I use it for|
|Docs||Microsoft Docs is gold! Here you will find all the documentation you need. There are also separate section for learn to go through learning paths.|
|Experience||Here you will find ideas, community, roadmaps and access to insiders’ programs. Tons of high value here.|
|Yammer||The Yammer site is where you can have a direct communication with partners and Microsoft R&D personnel. There is an approval process to get access, but most consultants can get in.|
|CDE||Community driven engineering (CDE) is a Microsoft effort to make external engineers more efficient at providing recommended bug fixes as minor features to Microsoft, as well as to make Microsoft more efficient in accepting fixes from the community. If you have the right skills and the willingness to share and give away your fixes (or features) you can sign up at https://aka.ms/CommunitydrivenengineeringOne nice thing with the CDE, is that you can see all code changes over all builds that Microsoft releases. This gives me knowledge on code improvements far beyond the fixes released to LCS.|
|D365 Commerce||Do you want to check out the Dynamics 365 Commerce sites? Then this site is great for learning and trying it out.|
|D365 Commerce partner||Dynamics 365 Commerce is deployed and released in another way than the traditional X++ releases. To keep track of new builds and new releases I use the following two sites : Azure DevOps Commerce-partner and github Commerce.online, and the Commerce sample site Dynamics365Commerce.Solutions.|
|Here I can waste hours….|
Beyond this there is also all the extremely good blogs. Thank you all for building the best community in the world.
Happy new year!!!!