With the release of Dynamics 365 Business Central in October of 2018, Microsoft introduced a new concept for programming and development called an EXTENSION. In prior versions of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, a programmer would modify the course code directly for tables, pages, reports and code units. This would provide the local programmer with great flexibility to simply change the tables or other code elements to suit the needs of the local user. The drawback of this approach was that the programmer had to manually merge code elements that changed from one version to another every time that Microsoft issues a new release. Also, if a user had installed other add-on modules by third-parties, their own programming may interfere with that code as well. As a result, upgrading from one Version of Dynamics NAV to another became rather complicated, time-consuming and expensive.
Microsoft decided that a new cloud-based product such as Business Central needed a new approach and published this tool with their release of Dynamics 365 Business Central. Instead of using a programming language called C/AL which modified the core system objects, we are now using a language simply called AL which is part of the Visual Studio Code. Instead of modifying the core objects, a programmer can use the new tools to create new objects which are related to the core objects but are stored in separated containers. The system would maintain the link between these two resources automatically and more importantly, present them as ONE resource to the user when needed. As an example:
As you can see the new approach will allow Microsoft to control their own core objects without being concerned about other developers work. Also, this approach allows you to bundle all your own programming and install it easily on a new instance of your system by simply importing the extension. If you are commercial developer, you can use this approach to create a marketable collection of code and sell it on the Microsoft AppSource marketplace, after review and approval by Microsoft. When Microsoft does release a new version of their product, they can quickly and easily determine if any of the extensions are in conflict with the new release. These conflicts can be detected and addressed by Microsoft and the programmers well before the new release are made available.
In summary, the new approach called Extensions, greatly reduces the headaches and manual labor a developer would have to go through to upgrade from one version fo Microsoft Business Central to another and it completely eliminates any issues with more frequently released hotfixes.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our NAV to Business Central upgrade team to discuss a conversion from one model to the other and how CBR Technology may be of assistance. Our development team specializes in the conversion of Dynamics NAV C/AL code to AL Code as an extension for Dynamics 365 Business Central. We can be reached at Tel. 855-227-0700 or via e-mail at Sales@CBRTechnology.com.