Create a Dynamics 365 Sandbox Environment

Microsoft has given us the ability to create a sandbox environment based on the Dynamics 365 platform. This will allow you to try out new setups, extensions, and even develop new extensions in a safe isolated environment. This is perfect for testing new extensions in a true Dynamics 365 environment.

Each Dynamics 365 subscription is allowed to create one sandbox environment for no additional charge. You can even tear down and reset your sandbox as necessary.

To create a sandbox environment:

  1. Sign in to your production instance of the Financials service.
  2. Choose the Search for Page or Report icon, enter Sandbox Environment, and then choose the related link
  3. Select Create.
    Another tab in your browser will open for finishing the setup of your sandbox environment.
  4. When the sandbox environment is ready, you will be redirected to sandbox environment’s Welcome wizard.
  5. Choose Learn more to read about scenarios that you can try in a sandbox environment. Or, choose Close to continue to the Role Center of your Financials sandbox instance.
  6. At the top of the Role Center, a notification appears to inform you that this is a sandbox environment. You can also see the type of the environment in the title bar of the client.

Once the sandbox has been created, you can access each environment directly with the following URLs:

For more information, see the original Microsoft article here.

Happy coding!

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Dynamics NAV 2018 on the way!

After delivering a message at Directions NA 2017 that the typical October release if Dynamics NAV would be delayed until spring if 2018, an article posted by Alysa Taylor (GM of Global Marketing) confirms now that there will be a release of Dynamics NAV 2018 by the end of the current center year.

Check out the full article here.

This is a great response by Microsoft to address what was largely a negative reaction to the Directions announcement, and confirms that they are listening to our feedback!

Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’ Release Plan

Quick update on the release plan for the next iteration of Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’ (fka Dynamics NAV).

The next release for on-premise deployments was announced to be in the spring of 2018. This is a change from the typical October releases that we’ve been used to for the past 7 years or so.

We’re not sure what the final product name will be at this point.

This change in the release date came as quite a shock to the audience at Directions NA 2017. So much of a shock that Microsoft announced during the closing keynote that they will look into the current release plan to see if there’s anything they can do to get it out ahead of plan.

That’s all for now, happy coding!

Thoughts on Directions NA 2017

I’m back home after spending some time at Directions NA 2017. It was…..crazy and amazing! It’s always a fun and informative conference, and this year definitely did not disappoint.

I’m not going to focus on ‘the crazy’, as I’m sure you’ve probably seen countless other posts about it already. 🙂

Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’. Is it the final name? No. Is the NAV name being dropped? Sounds like it.

Dynamics 365 Tenerife: it’s cloud; it’s on-premise; it’s really freakin’ cool!

One more thing. No matter if you are a coder, an implementer, a sales person, or a little bit of everything, things are changing, and they’re changing FAST. Scary? Of course…..change always is, but I have 100% confidence that Microsoft’s direction is the right direction to go. We have been living in an online world for a number of years. No longer is the message “the cloud is coming”. The message is now “the cloud is here”. Hopefully you’ve been moving to the cloud already. If not, you are behind the times; it’s time to get your products to the cloud ASAP!

For developers, you have to put back on your learning hat and if you’ve not already started, begin looking at extension development using the new development tools, namely Visual Studio Code. It’s a new tool, but not “really” a new language. C/AL is a great language, so why would Microsoft do away with it? Consider the new AL language as ‘C/AL 2.0’ if you want. Same syntax, plus a load of new features that makes development even faster than it was in C/Side. With built in object types to connect to web services or process xml data, to new string builder commands, the development platform has been improved to an absolutely amazing level…….and that’s not even considering all of the goodies that Visual Studio Code brings us. Customize your development tool to however you like using a massive library of different extensions. Visual Studio Code has quickly become my go-to tool for much more than AL coding.

There’s so many cool things that need to be talked about in detail. The Microsoft Graph API that is being developed for the Dynamics 365 platform is something I want to spend some time with in the near future. Finally having a documented common set of APIs is something that I think is going to make our lives as developers extremely better…….and yes, the APIs work on premise too. 🙂

So many things to learn outside of what we’d typically refer to as the “NAV system”. Case in point, I spoke at a session regarding test drives on AppSource, which up until 2 weeks ago, was a completely foreign topic that I knew nothing about, and never thought I’d need to know anything about. Turns out though, with minimal development work, it’s incredibly easy to hook up your Dynamics 365 published app so that any Office 365 user (admin or not) can spin up a session to try it out, free of charge to them.

I know I’m probably forgetting a load of other cool things that were covered at Directions NA 2017, but trust me when I say that Microsoft is stepping on the pedal hard and going full steam ahead. Dynamics 365 Tenerife is a testament to that for sure.

It’s all so very exciting!

Until next time, happy coding!

 

 

64-Bit Visual Studio Code Available

Beginning with the July 2017 update, Microsoft is now pushing out a 64-bit version of Visual Studio Code. If you have an existing 32-bit version installed, you will not automatically be updated to the 64-bit version.

All you need to do though is manually uninstall your 32-bit version and install the 64-bit one. All of your existing extensions will be picked up by the new version and should continue to work.

Grab the 64-bit version here.

Happy coding!

AL Language Extension in Marketplace

For those of you that have been trying out the Dynamics NAV Development Preview, you can now grab the AL language extension from the Visual Studio Code marketplace.

This will let you set up your local machine for coding and deploying extensions on the v2 platform. This version of the AL Language extension is not for coding against an on-prem NAV system. It requires a Dynamics 365 for Financials Sandbox tenant.

To get the AL Language extension, just do the following:

In Visual Studio Code, click the Extension icon at the left and in the search box at the top, type in AL

Capture.PNG

In the search results, select the AL Language extension, and click Install.

InstallAL

After it is installed, click the Reload button to reinitialize Visual Studio Code with your new extension.

ReloadAL

That’s it! You can now connect your AL Language extension to your sandbox environment and code away!

As always, happy coding!

NAV Development Tools – June/July Updates

I’ve been so busy actually using the new development tools, that I’ve not posted about them here.

Below is a quick rundown of recent updates to the new tools for building Dynamics NAV extensions using Visual Studio Code. All in all we are getting a ton of new features that are making this new platform something that is really exciting and fun to use!

June Update

Microsoft skipped an update in May in order to concentrate on squashing a load of bugs, and at the same time bring some very cool new features.

Highlights include:

  • Use the in-app designer to move cue tiles and cue groups on your role center
  • Create a new page in VS Code and then use the in-app designer to add controls. The changes will then be pulled back into VS Code!
  • Include translation and table data files with your extension.
  • Improved intellisense.

Microsoft also added the beginnings for tenant-specific profiles (eg. role centers), which is a major win for those of us that are building vertical solutions that require new roles.

Get more info on the June update here.

July Update

As we all should know by now, using .Net Interop with extensions v2 is a no-go. To address that, Microsoft is building some .Net functionality into the AL codebase. The July update brings us what Microsoft has called the most requested .Net replacement feature. More specifically……XML handling!

In standard AL code, you can now define the following data types:

  • XmlDocument
  • XmlAttribute
  • XMLElement

Other highlights include:

  • New objects types: Profile, Page Customization
    • use to deliver tenant-specific role and page customizations (eg. personalizations) with your extension!!!   FINALLY !!!!!!!
  • On screen syntax help for parameters.
  • The RecordRef data type can now be used (albeit only for tables less than 2 billion).
  • The Permission property can now be used. For now you can only use it to reference objects in your extension, but Microsoft has stated that this will change in the future.

Perhaps most importantly, there’s also been a refresh on the MSDN documentation. You can get to the updated docs here.

Get more info on the July update here.

Well…as you can see it’s pretty exciting to be a Dynamics NAV developer right now. There are so many cool new features being added to the new development platform every month. If you can spare any time at all, it is definitely worth spending some time trying out these new tools.

You can find out how to try this out here.

Happy coding!