Detecting current object type and ID using some funky .NET Interop

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Did you ever need to identify the current object type and ID, programmatically, from within the object? For example, detecting the current table ID in a table trigger like this guy? Or current codeunit ID from inside the codeunit?

Why would you need something like this? If you are inside a trigger in, say, table 18, you do know that you are in the table 18, and you can refer to it as 18 or DATABASE::Customer, right? Yes, but this is hardcoding. If you move this code to a different table you’d have to change the hardcoded constant to whatever that other table is.

Microsoft was well aware of the need to know the currently running object ID in some cases, because there is the OBJECTID function to the CurrPage and CurrReport built-in objects. However, for tables, codeunits, XMLports, and queries, there is nothing of the sort.

Now, using .NET Interop, you can easily (well, easy is relative) get this info.

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Detect file encoding in C/AL using .NET Interop

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When importing files using XMLports, and especially when handling text files, file encoding is important. If the XMLport expects ASCII, and you feed it UTF-8, you may get scrambled data. If you have mismatching unicode input files, it may just fail altogether. Therefore, making sure that encoding is correct before you actually start gobbling input files might be important.

At least it was for me. I am currently automating data migration for a major go-live, and I am feeding some 30 input files to NAV, and I want to make sure they are all encoded correctly before I enter a process which would take another geological era to complete.

Detecting encoding is not something that pure C/AL can help you with, so I naturally went the .NET way. My position is that there is nothing a computer can do that .NET cannot. My another position is that there is no problem that I have that nobody before me ever had. Combining these two, we reach a yet another position of mine, that there is nothing that computer can do, of which there is no C# example, and typically I look for those on http://stackoverflow.com/

So, here’s the solution.

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A .NET Interoperability Lesson: Mapping indexed properties to C/AL

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Indexed properties are commonly used in C# because they allow a lot of syntactical flexibility, and make the code more readable, and easier to follow. Indexed properties are very similar to C/AL array indexing, except for two important differences:

  • In C/AL, indexer is always 1-based. In C#, indexers are 0-based.
  • In C/AL, indexer is always an integer. In C#, indexers can be any type.

These two examples show these differences:

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Trick: Instantiating any control in a Control Add-in

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My two last blog posts tackled two aspects of working with control add-ins: making any property or method accessible to C/AL, and making any event accessible to C/AL The first was a simple trick, the second was a bit more complex. Together, these two tricks enable you to easily interact with whatever Windows Forms control the add-in shows: you can access any of inner control’s members – properties, methods, or events. At this stage, there is a very simple, but robust framework in place, which lets you publish any kind of control and make it fully available to C/AL. Cool.

But, couldn’t we make it a bit cooler? How about being able to instantiate any control, and having C/AL decide which control to instantiate, instead of hardcoding it in the C# code?

Yes, we can do this.

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Trick: Subscribing to any Control Add-in event through pure C/AL

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So, it worked. I found just enough spare time to try out the crazy idea I mentioned in the last post. It’s about control add-ins and events. In the last post I gave a tip about exposing the actual control as a property decorated with ApplicationVisible, which allowed you to directly access all properties and methods of the control.

However, if you wanted to do the same with the events, you had no other option but to manually create an event handler for each event type, then to add an event handler for the actual event from the original control, and finally to raise the event on your control add-in from the event handler for the actual control. You lost me already, so did I Smile

This is what I am talking about. Imagine a button, and that you want to allow NAV to respond to its Click event. This is what you need to do:

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Might not seem too much, but consider that you must do this for every single event that you want to use, that it requires some rewrite-restart-redeploy-redesign-rebind workout to implement support for another event you forgot last time, and then it becomes an problem. Probably the ugliest part of it all is the fact that for C/SIDE to properly insert the new event triggers for an updated class, you have to unbind the Control Add-in, and then to re-bind it. This loses any C/AL code in previously existing triggers. Add to the equation the human error variable, which kind of readily pops up whenever manual code duplication is involved, and you’ll have a lot of happy hours fixing the mess and juggling dlls and C/AL code back and forth.

How about this. How about not having to add anything at all to your C# source code, and not having to redeploy anything, and then to support any event you want just through a single line of C/AL code?

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Yes. That’s what this blog post is about.

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