As I approached the new Dynamics NAV 2013 import tool called “Rapid Start” I felt a little like Clint Eastwood when he approach the outlaws in his famous westerns.
With no formal training I began to play and thus discovered quite a bit about how the functionality behaves. Here is the Good the Bad and the Ugly of using the Rapid Start Tool, aka “RS”.
The GOOD: Rapid Start is a fabulous tool, easy to use (once you know the ins and outs) and is speedy for small import files. One of the best features is the ability to view import errors. Prior to RS a programmer would need to create an error log or exception report to show the reasons why the import failed.
In order to import data whether for one time use like data migration or periodically for on-going journal imports, packages can be created quickly, field’s values are validated and the data applied within minutes.
One of the best features of RS is it’s simplicity. This is a tool that all end users can quickly learn and has endless uses.
The BAD: Rapid Start has a few quirks, as I discovered through my many trial and errors. Some examples of these pesky traits would be when you click to “import from Excel” (from the package line) the window closes and you must go back and click again. This behavior is unusual but seems to happen the first or second time using the package only.
RS will let you import through excel and directly Apply the package but it is best not to. It is recommended to Validate the package first. This way you will not have chunks of data going into NAV at separate times. I found that it is much easier to reconcile if you validate the package as a whole, fix any errors and then Apply. Otherwise you can lose track of how many records actually were inserted if import is large. This leads me to the next area on concern. Rapid Start relies heavily on the Refresh option. I have found that when working with large import file the refresh rate is very slow and users may not see the true picture of the number of records in either the database or package or both. But give it time and eventually the tables will be updated.
The UGLY: Rapid Start has it definite limitations. It is NOT Rapid at all when files are large. You may ask “What is considered a large file”. The answer is not definable. It depends on the number of fields, the number of validated fields and the number of rows. Occasionally I receive the generic message “File is too large”.
I also ran into severe processing delays (and I define severe as hours) when files contained forty-eight fields and had fifty-five thousand rows. My solution was to splice apart the file into smaller files with less rows and ask the ERP Gods for more patience.
Additionally users may receive error messages stating that a table does not exist in the package config. table, or that is are locked by other users, if the import file being used came from a different package. I even experienced Excel being locked, even though Rapid Start package was cancelled or deleted. My only alternative was to open Task Manager and kill the Excel process.
Lastly, I ran into an import situation, where Microsoft could not even explain. My import file kept failing and presented a technical message regarding sql and code. The un-explainable error was finally resolved by creating the template again, cutting and pasting the data from the ‘bad file’ into the new template and then importing.
In summary, the 2013 Rapid Start tool does work well under certain conditions, but as the great actor once said “Men must know their limitations”.