Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: The Best Path for Creating and Maintaining Extensions

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How do you launch into the future with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central? For most, the future lies in doing development with extensions, which have taken the place of traditional custom development from the Dynamics NAV era. In this new model, extensions deliver a uniform and continuously upgradeable code base, providing a more future-proof model that aligns with SaaS expectations.

Extensions vs. Add-Ons

Although more straightforward than traditional development of custom Dynamics NAV add-ons, creating and maintaining extensions for Business Central is not an easy task. The technological shift between add-ons and extensions is quite significant, requiring new processes, new technologies, and new architecture.

Previously, we created and sold add-ons based on localization and language. Today extensions are sold on AppSource to the global market and can be used anywhere in the world. Developers are challenged when creating a universal extension design, as it requires a holistic approach and the ability to adapt it across a broad audience.

Common D365 extensions challenges

The biggest challenge of all with extensions is the lack of a unified methodology on the topic. Rather than a set of standards, we have only different opinions from people who work in the industry. Every company thinks they have their own best path for creating and maintaining extensions, but there is no structured way to share their knowledge. Everyone simply figures out their own way by trial and error, which can be a tedious and time-consuming process.

To help reduce the time spent figuring out your best path to extensions, it is important to determine the direction you are taking before starting the process. Start by asking the following 10 questions:

1. Are you creating an extension as an independent software vendors (ISVs) or as a Value-Added Resellers (VARs)?

The difference between an ISV extension and a VAR extension is that ISV extensions are created as a product and VAR extensions are created as per-tenant customization.
For ISVs, the main focus is extensibility. This is because the end customer will want to allow for the addition of new capabilities. Therefore, before starting the process, you should answer which parts of the extension will you allow to be flexible and which parts you wanted to be fully locked in.
To tailor the solution for end customer needs, ISVs can choose from the following options:

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