Tag Archives: Deployment

Dynamically loading assemblies at runtime

When you spend more time in C# than C/AL, and you still tell yourself and the world around you that you are developing for NAV, then this post is for you.

I already wrote a three-article series about “DLL hell” and how to resolve it, and in my last post in the series (http://vjeko.com/sorting-out-the-dll-hell-part-3-the-code) I delivered some code that help you take control of your .NET assemblies.

This time, I am delivering an updated solution, one that solves all the problems others, and myself, have encountered in the meantime.

So, fasten the seatbelt, and let’s embark on another .NET interoperability black belt ride.

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Database deployment of add-ins in NAV 2016 is broken, big time

If you are developing .NET assemblies for use with NAV, then sooner or later you’ll figure out that the new database deployment of add-ins in NAV 2016 is broken.

I’ve just suffered through medieval torture of attempting to have my NAV forget about a database-deployed assembly.

First of all – if you are merely consuming an off-the-shelf assemblies developed by somebody out there, you’ll probably not need to worry at all. However, if you are developing your own assemblies, then sooner or later you’ll find yourself stretched in exactly the same torture rack.

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A few thoughts around assembly naming and versioning for NAV

Are you developing .NET assemblies intended to be used from C/AL? If so, then you must have realized that keeping proper track of them and managing them on the server (or client, in case you still do that) is not a simple affair.

Assemblies in .NET are identified through their fully qualified name, and that’s how NAV tells one assembly from another, as well. Fully qualified name contains the assembly name, version, public key token, and culture information. A good practice in .NET development is that when you update assembly’s functionality, you also version that assembly up, essentially resulting in a completely new assembly, which doesn’t have the same fully qualified name as the older version did.

However, this kind of change is a breaking change. In .NET, it’s not all that breaking – you simply reference the new version and this applies to whole project. Or whole solution, depending on how you configure the MSBuild behavior.

But in NAV, it’s a completely different story. Versioning an assembly up is a very breaking change. In NAV, we cannot simply replace a reference once, and then have it apply to the whole database. Unfortunately, we have to update a reference on every single variable, and if you ever had to do it, chances are you don’t keep any happy memories about this experience.

That’s why NAV developers, when working in .NET, prefer not versioning up. And that’s wrong.

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Deploying from Visual Studio, update

A few days ago I have published my PowerShell script that streamlines and automates deployment of control add-ins from Visual Studio. Over the past couple of days I have improved it a little bit, and fixed a few bugs, so here’s an updated version that is more resilient to your project structure, produces resource zips that NST not only extracts, but actually understands, and does a little more.

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Deploying control add-ins during development in NAV 2016

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 brings many new features, one of which is a set of PowerShell cmdlets to manage add-ins. These are:

While these cmdlets are certainly useful for installation and deployment, I find them even more useful during development. When I blogged about deploying resource files automatically during development some months ago, I showed how you could use PowerShell during build process in Visual Studio to invoke a codeunit that registers control add-ins. Now, in NAV 2016, these tasks are a lot simpler with these new cmdlets.

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