Old vs. new world - FOB-based solutions or extensions?
Where is the difference?
All Simova solutions are available both as extensions and FOB-based. But what is the difference between these two options and what are their advantages and disadvantages?
The FOB file extension is the abbreviation for "Financials OBject" and stands for binary files containing Microsoft Dynamics objects. More specifically, "FOB" refers to code that is added to the NAV standard code. Additional solutions, which are also created on FOB basis, have been around since Navision times, but are prone to errors, as the NAV standard can be manipulated by the developer without limits.
The advantages & disadvantages of FOB-based solutions at a glance
+ Can be adapted more individually
+ Tried and tested
+ Compatible with NAV & BC versions BC 12.0, BC 13.0 & BC 14.0
+ Still widespread
- Replacement by extensions is pending
- Based on old standards
- More error-prone, because NAV standard code is accessed
- No longer compatible with Business Central versions from BC 15.0 onwards
Extensions for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central are called extensions. Extensions are characterised by the fact that they are grouped together in so-called containers and therefore no longer require access to the standard code of the ERP solution. Extensions are similar to apps and, thanks to standardisation and nesting in containers, can be easily installed in the system by an ERP administrator. An extension is delivered in the form of an .app file, which can be easily set up in the Business Central Extension Manager. However, standardisation makes customisation more complicated and it is not easy to make adjustments. To cover these additional requirements, extensions for the extension must be developed and implemented. Extensions can also be tested much better through unit tests and test extensions than is the case with FOB-based solutions. This increases the quality of extensions compared to FOB solutions. Unit tests are also an admission requirement for the Microsoft AppSource.
With the AppSource, Microsoft provides a separate portal for all extensions for the Business Central solution and other services. Here you will find a wide variety of solutions for all business units for every requirement. Microsoft thus focuses more on standardisation than on individualisation. You can find more information about the transformation of Microsoft and Microsoft products, the old and the new world in our blog article.
The advantages & disadvantages of an extension at a glance
+ Quick and easy implementation
+ Available directly in the AppSource
+ Mobile optimisation
+ Compatible with all BC versions
+ No access to standard code necessary
- Individualisation more difficult to realise
- No Dynamics NAV support
- Need to switch to the Web Client
- New user interface may cause acceptance & operation problems
Compatibility of FOB-based solutions and extensions
FOB-based objects can still be used with versions BC 12.0, BC 13.0 and BC 14.0.
Thus the transition from FOB-based solutions to extensions should be cleaner and a transition is guaranteed. In the FOB version for Business Central, development statuses from older databases can simply continue to be used without major changes. Microsoft creates a time window in which Business Central functionalities can already be used and in the meantime one can prepare for a change from FOB-based objects to extensions.
If you have further questions about FOB, Extensions or our solutions, please do not hesitate to contact us.