Monday, May 18, 2020

Business Central Navigation Challenge: Finding "Hidden" Pages?

By Steve Endow

I'm new to Business Central.  So please excuse my lack of proper Business Central decorum.

I don't yet know the lingo, the tricks, or the secret handshake.  I barely know the basics as I slowly learn the product.

So...I'm like a new "User".  One of those pesky new users who asks the "dumb" questions.  The obvious questions.  The questions that all real Business Central users already know and don't even think about.

Like how to navigate and find pages in Business Central.

Can I just ask for directions?

"Don't navigate! Just use Search!", is the obvious response.

But I, as a typical User, will find the oddities and exceptions.  The apparent secrets of Business Central that are not obvious to a new user.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

How will developers and customers deal with software EULAs in the age of SaaS?

By Steve Endow

In the last 10 years, I've sold software to over 500 "mid-market" customers.

Only 8 of those customers read the software license agreement that I provided to them.  Which is fine--I don't read them either.

But 8 of my customers did actually read the license agreement--all were large corporations.  Presumably they reviewed the license agreement because it is their corporate policy, and likely because they actually have a "legal department" or some legal resource that handles the task of reviewing software licenses.  Fun job, for sure.

We've all ignored it

If you've ever had a lawyer read a legal document drafted by someone else, you know that they will always come back with requested changes.  Always.  Whenever I hear "legal department", I know what happens next.

Of the 8 customers who had their lawyer read my license agreement, all 8 requested changes to the agreement.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

When will we attend physical conferences again?

By Steve Endow

I thought I was being prudent and organized in January 2020 when I booked my flight and hotel for the Directions NA conference to be held in Orlando in June 2020.  I'm used to hotels quickly filling up for Dynamics conferences, so I thought I'd reserve my room early and get a good price on my flight.  I also made sure to get the "Super Early Bird" registration rate for Directions NA.  I was all set!

But of course, things changed drastically by March, and physical conferences were all cancelled or rescheduled.  Microsoft has cancelled all physical events through July 2021.  Many companies put a hold on all business travel.

Directions NA was rescheduled for December 1-4, 2020.  My Super Early Bird registration applied to the new conference date.  I was able to cancel my hotel reservation.  The airline will not give me a refund if I cancel my flight, so I'm going to try to reschedule it to December.  So I assumed that I would be going to Directions NA in December.

This week I looked at the dates for Community Summit North America.  October 6-9, 2020, in Nashville.

Hmmm.  October 2020?  I guess that might be possible.

What about Community Summit Australia?  August 19-21, 2020, in Melbourne.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Business Central Docker Containers: Make sure to update NavContainerHelper

By Steve Endow

UPDATE: If you're interested in a convenient way to run the BcContainerHelper PowerShell commands, check out Krzysztof's Azure Data Studio Notebook with sample BcContainerHelper commands.  Jupyter Notebooks are a great way to include documentation and commands in a single convenient format.

If you are using Business Central Docker containers, make sure to regularly update NAV Container Helper.

UPDATE:  After thinking about this more, it just didn't make sense that the NavContainerHelper module I had downloaded just 9 days ago would have an old reference to $NAV instead of BC.  The $NAV parameter would presumably have been phased out months ago.

So how was it possible that calling my 9 day old version of NavContainerHelper resulted in an error due to an old $NAV reference?

The explanation lies in my complete ignorance of PowerShell and how PowerShell modules work.

AJ Kauffmann explained to me that I can check which versions of the NavContainerHelper module I have installed.  This is probably obvious to PS folks, but I didn't know that PS maintained multiple module versions.

AJ informed me of the "-allversions" parameter that will show all of the versions I have installed.  I've collected quite a few.

I'm a Collector

I then started wondering:  Is it possible that PowerShell called one of these old versions, which did contain the NAV reference?

The answer is:  YES.  It is possible, and likely explains the error I encountered.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Dynamics 365 Business Central Updates: April 2020

By Steve Endow

There are quite a few things going on with Business Central, so I thought I would share some things I've reading and working on lately.

1. Business Central 2020 Wave 1 deployment:  Business Central version 16.0 is being deployed to production tenants through June 15, 2020.  If you haven't yet scheduled your upgrade, visit your BC Admin Center and schedule a preferred date date.

Upgrading to 16.0

Monday, April 20, 2020

Learning Business Central Development from Scratch: The Four Different Code Analyzers

By Steve Endow

As part of the AL Development Online Training class, I'm working on my first AL project.

When you create a new AL project in VS Code, one of the many options available are the "al.enableCodeAnalysis" and "al.codeAnalyzers" settings in one of your "settings.json" files.

Update: Here is a blog post by "Waldo" (Eric Wauters) on enabling the AL code analyzers

Option 1: Save the options in the User settings.json file.  This will enable the AL code analyzers for all of your projects.  If you always want the same settings for all of your projects, this option might be the easiest.

CTRL + comma  ->  Extensions  ->  AL Language extension  -> Code Analyzers  ->  Edit in settings.json

AL Code Analyzer Settings in the User Settings File

Don't forget these options when installing VS Code!

By Steve Endow

While attending AJ Kauffmann's AL Development online training class last week, I noticed that he was able to right click on a folder or open directory in Windows Explorer and then select Open in Code, to quickly open the project in VS Code.

Windows File Explorer context menu

When I tried this on my development machine, I didn't have the "Open with Code" menu option.

After a quick search, it appears that you have to enable this context menu during the VS Code install.  There is apparently a way to add it via registry hack, but there is no simple way to enable this feature.  From the articles I've found, you can't enable the option from within VS Code, and on my machine, there was no "Change" option under Add/Remove Programs--only "Uninstall" was listed.

So, the easiest option for me was to uninstall and then reinstall.  Very lame, but not too difficult and it only took a few minutes.

Essential Options During Install

When you install VS Code, MAKE SURE to review these options and check the boxes. I would strongly recommend checking the three highlighted boxes.  If you do not enable these context menus, it's pretty tedious to open Business Central AL projects.

Steve Endow is a Microsoft MVP in Los Angeles.  He works with Dynamics 365 Business Central, Power Automate, Power Apps, Azure, Dynamics GP, SQL Server, and .NET

You can also find him on Twitter and YouTube

How many digits can a Business Central Amount field actually support?

 by Steve Endow (If anyone has a technical explanation for the discrepancy between the Docs and the BC behavior, let me know!) On Sunday nig...