Category Archives: Best practices

Code annotations in AL – Please, don’t!

One of good practices of writing C/AL Code for Microsoft Dynamics NAV since the dawn of civilization was annotating (commenting) code changes. If you are not sure what I mean by that, this is what I am talking about:

While standards varied about > vs +, or < vs -, or what the annotations should include, there was absolute consensus that annotating changes is an absolute must.

And it was a must. It was such an important rule that everyone followed it without questions asked. In my career, I’ve seen one or two situations of somebody changing or deleting a line of code without leaving any comment, and I’ve seen quite a lot of code, believe you me. It was that important.

It was that important in fact that it was one of the first things developers learned when they signed up for the job, and it was one of the rules they all followed from their first day.

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C# Injection: Don’t trust FOB

FOBs, those pesky little files that we all take for granted, import into our databases, and live happily ever after. After you read this post, you’ll handle FOB files very, very carefully.

Why is that? Well, if you haven’t already, then read this post first: From C/AL to executable: how NAV runs your C/AL code

Good, now that we are on the same page, let me explain why you must never, ever, ever trust a FOB file.

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Module Binder Pattern proposal

Whoa! This has been quite an event, the Directions EMEA 2016 in Prague. There has never been this many people (1.700+) and it was quite a pleasure connecting again with old friends, and meeting new friends. Also, it has been quite a pleasure listening to many good sessions, and an even bigger pleasure delivering four of them.

And this is why I am blogging now – to follow up on my promise during my Polymorphic Event Patterns for C/AL. I promised you that I’d post my pattern proposal online, and here I am doing it.

Let’s get started.

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Gentlemen’s agreement pattern, or handling the “Handled” pattern

I’ve delved deep into design patterns story with my last two blog posts, but I am far from over. The patterns I discussed are the ones we could use up until NAV 2015 (we can still use them, of course!) but some more robust loose coupling (excuse the near-oxymoron) can be achieved with what NAV 2016 brought along: events.

It’s the “Handled” pattern. This pattern comes from Thomas Hejlsberg, a chief architect and CTO of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, and was first described by Mark Brummel on his blog. It’s a powerful loose-coupling pattern that successfully addresses the shortcomings of all design patterns I discussed earlier. I would prefer calling this pattern Event Façade rather than “Handled”, but it’s not my baby to christen.

Let’s take a look.

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TempBlob Façade: a pattern proposition

Achieving some kind of polymorphism in C/AL has always been a problem. The fact that true polymorphism with pure C/AL is outright impossible has not stopped the more stubborn of us to at least give it a try. That’s how some cool patterns emerged.

The façade pattern has been evangelized by Gary Winter so eagerly that he couldn’t find time to formally describe it. The other pattern that comes close is the variant façade pattern. It was formally described at the patterns Wiki page, but – to the best of my knowledge – was first figured out by Arend-Jan Kauffmann.

These two patterns can go a long way. No, they are not coming anywhere near true polymorphism, but will achieve some cool loose binding when you need it.

In my practice, I took a step further, and I think it’s about time I share it. Let’s see if it works for you as well as it did for me.

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