Yes! I did it! I finally managed to create the blogpost that I have been wanting to put online for quite some time. I have been putting off a lot of other posts – just to be able to make this one happen asap!
You might remember the post about Directions US 2019 – that I had some work to do. Well – let’s just say I’m trying to deliver on that promise – at least for 50% for now ;-). Namely, on – what I think – the most important part:
Indeed! In my opinion, everybody of us (and I really mean everybody!) will – at one point in time – have to start organizing on how to develop in team. And not only that. Moving into SaaS, your customers will have more demands, like “upgrading”: everyone will get a new version of Business Central – you better make sure that all your developments (Apps AND PerTenantExtensions) are ready for the next release at all times. This means, you’ll have to compile, test, publish, .. all your apps, in combination with a multitude on localizations, every single day … for all your solutions and customers.
Yeah, I know – build pipelines, right?
Exactly. And a lot more, but to solve the “let’s be prepared for the future” kind of thing, and “let’s try to work in team” – build and release-pipelines are there for you to help. Even more: in my opinion, they are indispensable to do anything with AL Development.
Ok, but where is ALOps going to help us?
Well, I noticed that most of us understand the concept of build pipelines, and even agree with the fact that it’s absolutely necessary for moving to SaaS (development, maintenance, …) – and even OnPrem! But .. we are AL developers, and C/AL Developers, and we’re good at it! But setting up DevOps is a lot of infrastructure, a lot of PowerShell, .. a lot of stuff we are not using in our daily life. Let alone to “maintain” in our daily life. That’s why so many people came up to me to ask “can I use yours” after my session at Directions.
And THAT is exactly where ALOps will be able to help you: without having too much knowledge of infrastructure, PowerShell, Build Pipelines, … you will still be able to set up one or multiple pipelines in no time!
ALOps is a Azure DevOps extension that works on Azure DevOps online, but also on DevOps OnPrem. You can find it in the marketplace here: https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=Hodor.hodor-alops.
You will have to download this to your DevOps to get the build pipelines running. Now, you will have easy access to new tasks while setting up your build pipeline. You can find a more detailed description on how to get ALOps in your DevOps here.
ALOps – How does it work
We are working hard on documentation. There is even a script that creates the documentation for us, straight from the tasks-manifests of the extension – during the build of our extension ;-). That kind of like means that all the important documentation of all steps is always up-to-date. Great! Let me walk you through all the information we have
This is where it all starts. Here you download the DevOps extension to your DevOps environment. And all important steps are documented right on this page. It can’t get any easier than this.
These “Tasks” are actually the building blocks of a build pipeline, specifically for AL Development.
But … don’t worry … we will help you even more with building a pipeline.
We will do that with templates. We will have template projects for you in the public project above. Just navigate to the repos, and all repos in this project will be a certain template, containing all that is needed for an AL app, including:
- Recommended settings
- Bases folder structure
- Recommended .gitignore
- A build pipeline
We aim for this build pipeline to be as runnable as at all possible. So, if you would fork or clone or import from this project, you already have a running build with a minimum of effort.
A short description on how to do this, you can find here.
Documentation and feedback on GitHub
We try to document the most important things of ALOps on Github, where we also gather feedback. The repo on github is actually just a set of .md-files, which documents ALOps. It’s quite limited now, but we’ll extend this during the lifecycle of ALOps, obviously ;-).
An important part if obviously your feedback. Anyone who has questions, or has feedback or anything – just use the “Issues”-section of the repo and we’ll react as fast as possible ;-).
Another thing to help you to get started is my repos – I have set up two public projects for you to browse through, and get ideas:
- WaldoGitHubBuilds: with build pipelines for my own github repos. At this point, just one: I’m building the waldo.nav.pad (from github) on my devops here.
WaldoDevOpsDemos: just some DevOps repos, different scenarios, like
- Side-by-side (importing a fob)
- Dependend apps
- Just a base app
- Multiple apps in one repo (like Freddy does it)
More scenarios will be online at some time in the (near) future.
There is a big portion of ALOps that is free: simply said: it’s free for the community, but it’s not free for all projects that are for business.
What does that mean? ALOps is free for Open Source projects and any public projects! So, all MVPs and other community contributors that have an Open Source AL solution (like myself) – go get busy and build away!
For anything that is private (which I assume are trying to make a profit), there is a price. More information about that on the marketplace!
That’s also why I’m not ashamed at all to advertise for it .. I know that a lot of you will be able to use it for your own public, community stuff, like I do 😉 – and that means it can benefit the community a lot, like it has been benefitting myself, and also our company A LOT.
Hope you like it! I’m not going to blog about every single details, but I will be working on making your life with ALOps as easy as at all possible – I promise ;-).