Control Add-ins Supercharged – Kicking off

Control add-ins have always been my passion. Not only because I’ve been working with JavaScript since 1996, and I could call it my mother tongue, but because I just love how they allow us to create amazing user interfaces. Business Central has made huge progress in terms of usability of the web client, however it’s still not the most user friendly thing out there, and performing some tasks may be tedious. Control add-ins help because they allow us to develop custom user interface over standard data and processes.

However, when building control add-ins, it’s not only about what we build, but also about how we build it. That was the central tenet of my NAV TechDays 2019 session named “Control Add-in Development Supercharged”, in which I wanted to show how control add-in development can be indistinguishable from modern web front end development. Because that’s exactly what it is – web front end development.

For my session I’ve prepared total of 36 demos. However, I realized just before the session that I won’t be able to deliver all of them, while also delivering all the theory I wanted to present. So I decided to post all of the demo source code for all 36 demos. However, this year I wanted to take a step further: I wanted to not only deliver the code as-is without any explanations, I actually wanted to explain all of it.

And this is what this blog series will be about – how to supercharge the control add-in development and make it as modern as it can possibly get. All with code examples and explanations. In the end, you’ll get a nice tutorial of modern control add-in development, that I hope will help you build your skills and take your control add-in development to the next level.

All code examples and explanations will be in in GitHub, and the first example is already there.

So, head to https://github.com/vjekob/supercharged_01 and check out the first example.

I won’t be posting code explanations here on my blog, I’ll merely be posting about the latest contribution to my GitHub repositories, and will add a line or two to explain what a particular repo or branch are about.

So, today: repository supercharged_01, branch master.

This branch introduces the “Simpler” control add-in and sets the stage for all further demos. It contains a very simple AL extension that contains a control add-in. The control add-in does not provide a feature-complete functionality, but merely showcases how it could be possible to simplify an otherwise less user-friend process. Keep in mind that the control add-in itself does not matter. What matters is its structure and how it was created.

In this branch, the control add-in is done in a “naive” way, how a typical AL developer without much experience in JavaScript or web development would develop it.

Stay tuned for (far) more content over the following days and weeks – it takes time to explain 36 demos in detail.

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