The range of ERP systems supported by powerGate grows steadily. We recently made several Microsoft Dynamics Nav (Navision) integrations. From an integration point of view, Navision is a quite cool system. It provides access via web services and REST/OData. Although powerGate works natively with REST/OData, we decided to integrate via web services, as it give us a bit more freedom in consuming the API the way we need.
So, the first step was creating a powerGate Server plugin for Navision. We basically created powerGate services for items and BOMs. Obviously more objects can be consumed and exposed. The Navision API is well documented, but obviously there are some internal system requirements that needs to be known and we had to figure it out. For instance, in order to consume an item inside a BOM, the base quantity of the item must be set. Or in order to create a BOM, you must first create the BOM header with the right amount of empty BOM rows, which will be filled with a key, and then update again the BOM rows. In other words, while the API looks simple, there are some peculiarities that needs to be figured out.
Anyway, the response time of the Navision is amazing. Loading item and BOM data takes a fraction of a second. So, when the user now goes into Vault, clicks on a file or an item with an appropriate part or item number and activates the ERP tab, he immediately can see all the Navision information right from within Vault. He also can update the data, or create new items. Also the BOM transfer is amazingly fast. The check if all needed items are present goes through quite fast, and also the check and compare of BOMs. Making the integration to Navision was quite of fun and also seeing it working life!
Navision comes with several tools, and one of it is the Administration window. Here you can enable Navision to be accessible via web services and REST API.
Once you enabled the connectivity, you can expose the Navision objects via the Navision user interface. Just search for “web services” in the search box at the top right corner and go the “Web Service” area. Here you can create new services just by selecting page as object type, select the object you like to expose and give a name. Once you enable the checkbox “Published”, you will see the URLs for the web services and the REST/OData service.
If you like to test the services, just open the URL in your browser. Google Chrome gives you the best viewing rest and has further cool extensions to play with the services, such as the Chrome JSON formatter (for formatting JSON results) and the PostMan for testing the services.
Now, that the services are running, they can be consumed in an according powerGate Server plugin and then used in the Vault Data Standard dialogs. So, if you have a Navision in your company, then don’t wait any longer to connect it to Vault!!