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Microsoft Business Solutions : Axapta

Hi folks.... does anyone have any idea about the Microsoft product called 'Axapta' ?

Obviously I have been googling  this to get some basic info, but would like to know if anyone has worked with it (as a user) or worked on some project/part related to 'Axapta' integration with other softwares.

What i'd like to know is :

* Does this product have a good installed user base
* Is Microsoft still supporting this product
* Any idea about what technologies this product uses (as in VB, VC++, Java or some proprietary language). Why i ask this is coz MS bought the company which owned Axapta earlier.
* Any idea what the 'base' version of the software costs like
* Where can I get more detailed information on this product
* What kind of companies is this product targatted at

May be Joel can provide some insider information on this..............

Do let me know if anyone of you have soem details on this...

Thanks

Shai
Thursday, January 22, 2004

Check this out:

http://www.microsoft.com/businessSolutions/Axapta/default.mspx

Steve Jones (UK)
Thursday, January 22, 2004

It used to be a company called Damgaard (Spelling may be wrong) who merged with Navision who were then bought by Microsoft.
It's more popular in Europe than the states and I suspect that MS will kill off great plains in europe and use Navision as their european brand with great plains in the US.
As far as I know it's a perfectly capable product but we don't run up against too often (Market segments don't overlap too much).

Peter Ibbotson
Thursday, January 22, 2004

Axapta contains it's own development environment (if you buy that licence), which uses X++ (it's a C-ish kind of language). It's pretty easy to learn, the hardest thing is propobly to learn how the Axapta application is working, what each object does, and so on.

I come from a background of developing close to the database, and from that perspective Axapta is quite a bit akward. They have created their own SQL-language (although you can actually connect directly to the database and execute regular SQL if neccessary) which lacks some of the basic stuff. For instance, triggers, unions and a lot of other stuff is not supported in the built in SQL (they only started to support views in the most recent version). Oh, and it doesn't support Null. I'm not kidding...

Also, all database objects is held in a repository in Axapta,  which means that you can't actually do anything directly in the database - you always have to go though Axapta.

Tobias Nyström
Thursday, January 22, 2004

Its interesting someone's braught this up. I myself am looking for information on Axapta and Navision (erstwhile Attain). The MBS (Microsoft Business Solutions) site contains only promotional material for prospective clients. It doesn't serve any purpose for developers. I had a chat with one of their call center folks and they gave me an email address from where you get developer information on MBS products. The email is mbsisv@microsoft.com. ISV stands for Independent Software Vendor. In fact, I did even send them an email and got a response which only said, your request has been escalated to the UK office. Its been more than a week now. Just seconds ago, I received an email from them where they asked me to fill an online survey about the level of satisfaction I had from their service to my inquiry. I also know that the company Navision (which now doesn't exist because it was amalgamated with Microsoft) has an intranet where there is loads of information but again its of no use if you do not have the product license.

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Thursday, January 22, 2004

And that's correct, the syntax for their development languages is ditto like C.

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Thursday, January 22, 2004

The Navision product line (Axapta, Attain, etc) seems to be of fairly decent quality compared to most other accounting / financials packages I've seen.  It is essentially a closed, proprietary system based on open MS technologies.  By this, I mean that if you are willing to stay within the realm of Navision and implement your processes INSIDE the Navision IDE using their tools, the system works quite well and has many RAD-type advantages.  However, if you want to try to interface Navision with existing external solutions, you are going to spend some time pulling your hair out.  There are various communication / integration modules available for Navision, but they are not well documented and certainly not commonly used in the USA.

Sathyaish hit the nail on the head:  Finding technical information / documentation about Navision is next to impossible.  (Or at least, finding it in English is.)  Almost everything on the web is sales-promotional related material.  There is no shortage of hype and claims and snazzy brochures, but if you want to find out how the underlying technology actually works or how to develop anything for the platform that's even just slightly out of the canned functionality norm - good luck, you're on your own, buddy.

I know, because my company just bought Navision Attain (a notch or two below Axapta, I believe) and I am one of the poor clods in charge of customizing the package to absorb our existing business processes that are currently handled by a hodgepodge of creaky legacy systems...

If anyone can prove me wrong on this assertion, I will erect a shrine in your honor!

Tim Lara
Thursday, January 22, 2004

The lack of documentation is, as people have mentioned above, one of the greatest problems. The Developers Guide, which is the only technical documentation within Axapta, is propobly the worst documentation that I've come upon (from a company of Navisions size).

The support from Microsoft (please note, that this is only based on the support in Sweden. I have had no experience with the support in other countries) is not something to write home about. If they answer (I'm not kidding) there are usually only a few people available to answer questions, and as soon as the question is a little bit out of the ordinary, they're unable to give you an answer.

Microsoft do have a technet for Axapta (link below), and that is without a doubt the best source for information (at least in Sweden). Do note that the part of Technet that is maintained by Microsoft (articles, documentation e t c) is as scarce as the rest of the documentation. The interesting part is the discussion forum. You can join for free, regardless if you have a licence or not.

http://technet.navision.com

Tobias Nyström
Friday, January 23, 2004

Yeah, I had the link to the Technet intranet I mentioned in the post, which you have provided a link to (http://technet.navision.com), but I did not post the link on the site because I was not sure of the consequences. I thought it might be some secret thing because I got the link from one MSFT insider working for MBS Middle East. But I've gone through some PDFs there and they are of no use to the developer, at least not unless you have the product license.

And the forum, oh, that is a joke. I didn't see a single post on the forum. May be I didn't know how to look or where to look, but I saw the forum was completely empty. Tell me, have I got that right?

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Friday, January 23, 2004

You have to go to the 'Discussions' tab. There you find the discussion board - which I'd guess contains about 10k subjects.

Tobias Nyström
Friday, January 23, 2004

The whole MBS business model is partner sentric with each partner being given access to the type of materials that you are looking for. For example there is an e-academy which gives a basic overview of the functionality per functional area and then there are training manuals which take you to the next level (basic) and then there are the extensive advanced manuals. How do I know this I work for a MBS Business Partner

Gavin Smith
Thursday, February 26, 2004

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