Business Central Development Life Hacks

I haven’t exactly blogged much lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been active for or in the community. You might have seen my previous blogpost for example, where I explored the wonders of streaming (which is for a near future to pick up, by the way ;-)), I also have contributed a few sessions on a few occasions.
One of these occasions was “Dynamics Con” – a free conference that was organized for the second time. You might remember my blogpost about it of when it was completely new: New Upcoming Conference: DynamicsCon.
I’d like to highlight some points of my session in this post. You can find the YouTube recording at the end of this blogpost.

The Topic

During the Spring 2020 conference, I saw a session “Business Central Life Hacks” by Shawn Dorward (which has a blog “ ” – how fitting is that ;-)) – which focused on functional life hacks. This inspired me of doing a developers-version of it. So I asked him if I could “steal” his title, and go for “Business Central Development Life Hacks“. I submitted the session title, and I was lucky enough to have it voted high enough to be selected as a session.

The Content

I wanted to focus on the not-so-obvious topics this time. So I tried to explore new extensions, new shortcuts and so on. I ended up with about 6 hours of content, that I had to cut back to about 40 minutes. This is what I covered (with links to the corresponding time in the video)

VSCode Shortcuts – (video)

I shared quite some shortcuts that I use all the time within VSCode, and there was quite some interest in an overview. Well, the entire session was done in VSCode, and the readme you can vind in my repo on Github. Also the shortcuts:

Now go and learn ‘m by heart ;-).

Searching – (video)

We probably all used quite some search-functionality within VSCode. I do believe though that there is more to the “Searching” than the obvious. Like saved search results, regex searching, and so on. Very useful ;-).

Multiroot Workspaces – (video)

You must know by now I am a Multiroot-workspace-fan, a “multirootie” if you will ;-). I walk you a bit through the advantages you have when working multiroot.

Settings – (video)

I didn’t spend too much time on “settings”. I have loads of settings, but I just wanted to share a bit on how you can improve the UX for al development (in terms of visibility of the files in search and the explorer), and even synchronize settings on multiple PCs.

Snippets – (video)

Of course ;-). If I talk VSCode, I usually talk snippets as well. In this case though, I talked about on how you can disable snippets ;-). Yep, you ARE able to disable snippets from any extension, to not clutter your intellisense.

Extensions – (video)

And yes, I was able to find two more VSCode Extensions that are (in my opinion) interesting for AL developers:

  • Error Lens, which gives you information about errors and warnings within your code.
  • Docs View, which gives you documentation of the current selected statement, method, .. In a separate windows, which I found quite useful in quite some cases.

What is your opinion? Should I add them to the “AL Extension Pack“? I probably will ;-).

MSDyn365BC.Code.History – (video)

The “hack of all hacks” in my opinion: the MSDyn365BC.Code.History project from Stefan Maron. One of my favorite community contributions which I seem to be using all the time. I wanted to share some tips that Stefan didn’t show yet on his blog: to browse through the project with VSCode (of course ;-)).

Using Tasks – (video)

During the questions, I had some time to share yet another piece of content that I had to remove from the content before, and that is the usage of “VSCode Tasks”: a configurable ability to run PowerShell (and other tasks) from the Command Palette. I use it all the time .. :-).

Something Different

As you might have noticed if you saw the entire video – I wanted to do it a tad different. In stead of switching to PowerPoint all the time, I decided to use VSCode as my PowerPoint, and use an md (MarkDown) file, and VSCode BreadCrumbs to navigate through the agenda of the session. Personally, I liked how this was going – but .. did you? Any feedback is always appreciated.

The session

So now you have all the references that I used, the project, the video at the specific times, the links, .. So all that’s left for me to do is to share the actually video :-).


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