Accessing Dynamics Business Central (NAV) Cloud Data, Part 5 – Going Back to SQL Server

So far in this series, I’ve spent a lot of time showing how we can work with various ODATA web service APIs to get different sets of data from Business Central. 

And as you may recall, the purpose of this series is to describe how you can combine data from Business Central with other applications that may not be in the cloud and may not be using Power BI.  

In this post, we’re ready to talk about this specifically.

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Accessing Dynamics Business Central (NAV) Cloud Data, Part 4 – Going Deeper into the API

So far, we’ve seen how we can extract an entire table from the cloud, in this case the Chart of Accounts. However, we often don’t want to do that (especially on tables like G/L Entries). 

Thus, we need to filter.

The complete reference for ODATA Filtering for Business Central/NAV can be found here:

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Accessing Dynamics Business Central (NAV) Cloud Data, Part 3 – Introduction to Postman

In Part 2 of this post, I reviewed the basics of setting up a web service access key, finding your first API, and then executing the API in your browser. 

But the output we had wasn’t all that user friendly. Further, we asked for EVERY account in the system. In this case, there wasn’t a huge amount of data so it wasn’t a problem. But it’s not something you’d want to do with G/L Entries or other larger tables.

Fortunately, you can do a lot more with these ODATA Web Services than just select everything. Theoretically, you could create ever more complex strings and test them in your browser. But that’s not really efficient.  

Which brings us to a tool that’s called Postman.

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Accessing Dynamics Business Central (NAV) Cloud Data, Part 1: Terminology and Tools

When databases became a common part of ERP systems over 20 years ago, developers would say that no matter what else happened, they would always have SQL. “Give me a connection string and I’ll get you anything you want,” was their moto.

Today, that’s not the case. With the advent of SaaS in general (and cloud-based Business Central in particular), you now need to know things like “ODATA and “APIs” — especially if you want to combine data from multiple systems in a single report or data warehouse.

I joke that the definition of SaaS is “software where companies save lots of money on infrastructure and upgrades, which they end up spending on data and reporting.” (Which is good for me, I suppose. I never liked infrastructure and always liked data.)

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NAV and Duplicated Data

I recently presented “NAV SQL from Friends to Foes” at the recent NAV User Group Summit.

Here’s a copy of the presentation:

Here’s the code I reference (in GitHuB).

My presentation is a whirlwind tour of the NAV database and SQL. But still, it’s a good starting point for folks who want to get comfortable with them both.

As I continue to build on this topic, I’m going to write about it here. 

And I’m going to start by explaining how NAV is (and isn’t) a relational database. 

And the first related topic is duplication of data — because this is a common source of confusion that all begins with NAV reports.

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SQL Server and Dynamics NAV: MAXDOP and Cost Threshold for Parallelism

In this article, I’m going to delve into the topics of MAXDOP and cost threshold for parallelism. 

I’m writing it for two reasons:

1. There was a recent thread on SQL Server settings on the NAVUG list. Some of the information was good. But much of it was expressed in terms of “Well, I heard…,” which makes me nervous. You should have a basic understanding of what various settings do before you start taking anyone’s advice. (This isn’t to make me look superior. I’ve had plenty of times in my life where I (or my team) have been caught in the “let’s give this setting a try” loop — and it’s not pretty.)

2. I’m preparing a presentation on SQL performance for NAV. While I’ll be focusing mostly on improving BI query performance (which is where I spend a lot of my time), I do get asked about server settings, so I think it’s a worthwhile topic.

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Jet Reports – What NAV Server Am I Using?

A client recently asked me: “When I run a report, how can I know which server/company I’m using?”

It’s a good question — and one that others may have.

Below, I’ll walk you through the answer.

And because pretty colors impress most folks, I’ve even made it match the colors that show up in NAV.

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