Directions EMEA 2015 Session Content

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For me, Mannheim was always a yet another German city, one that beyond its name I knew nothing else about. When it was announced that Directions EMEA 2015 would be in Mannheim, my first reaction was “say what?” And yet, just as last year in Poznan, I was pleasantly surprised, and realized that every place has something to show, spirit to share, and energy to bring.

There are very few conferences that matter to me. One of them is Directions EMEA, and this year it’s the fourth time that I got a chance to speak and share my ideas and hacks with the community. As promised, and in line with my never-broken tradition, I’m publishing all my content on my blog for you to download.

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What’s New in NAV 2016: Code Editor

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Three years ago I was doing a presentation about something or other about NAV at a non-NAV conference. That’s in front of normal developers. And you can imagine what their impression was of the state of the technology when, in front of a couple of hundred mostly C# developer, I opened the C/AL editor.

I don’t need to be concerned about that anymore, because Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 comes with a new code editor, which comes with a number of features the whole NAV community way hoping for since I remember. And I started forgetting a long time ago.

Namely, we now have:

  • Proper syntax highlighting
  • Line numbers
  • Change indicators
  • Auto-complete intellisense style. Ish.
  • Syntax tooltips
  • And – hold your seats! – undo!

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Off-topic: A C# lesson learned about conditional operators

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If it was hard to write, it should be hard to understand, that’s an unwritten rule-that-rules-them-all of programming. You absolutely love to apply syntactical stunts to impress your coworkers, especially if you do C# and they don’t, don’t you?

One of those stunts (at least from C/AL) perspective is a C-language type common feature known as conditional operator. It allows you to write this:

a = b ? c : d;

when you would normally (in C/AL, for example) get more eloquent:

if (b == true)
{
    a = c;
} else {
    a = d;
}

This (b == true) could have been replaced with just (b), but I put it there for clarity.

But! (There is always a “but”!)

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Capturing unhandled errors in JavaScript Control Add-ins

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Not that I am saying it’s a good thing, but trial and error is a fairly common approach to debugging in the NAV world. We’ve all done it. Heck, even with the comprehensive testability framework built in, we all still do it more often than we’re happy to admit while sober.

But the overlord of trial and error in NAV is development of control add-ins in JavaScript. JavaScript itself is making it difficult in the first place, and then integration with NAV makes it even harder.

There is one situation in particular that’s adding a cherry on top of all of problems, and it’s the creepy “A script error has occurred” error message. It’s the equivalent of the BSoD.

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