AL Pragma Explorer – a new AL extension

There is a cool new extension out there for AL developers that you should really check out: AL Pragma Explorer. The extension is almost as amazing as the work behind it, because even though this extension is published under my publisher name, it’s not really just mine. This was a team effort of my group at the BC TechDays 2022 preconference workshop, and I am so proud that we actually managed to pull this thing off.

So, here’s the story.

When I proposed to teach the “Developing Visual Studio Code Extensions for AL Language” workshop at BC TechDays 2022, I proposed something I’ve never done before in my workshops. I promised that the second day of it would be completely unscripted, essentially a hackathon where – in the course of a single day – the entire group will build a working extension that does something useful for AL developers. Quite a challenge if you think of it! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was any AL extension, but yet, if you don’t set your bar high, you’ll never try to jump as high as you can.

Long story short, this morning we started with a discussion about what we can do, and I proposed this idea about the “pragma explorer”: a tool that would show you which different precompiler conditional directives are in use in your project, and then for each directive show which files it’s being used in, and for each file, lines where it’s used. Also, when you click the line, it takes you there, so you can see what’s going on. Also, turning conditionals on and off with a single mouse click was an important feature to have.

We started at 9, and at 16:35 our extension was alive in Visual Studio Code Marketplace.

I am absolutely not exaggerating when I say that this was the most challenging and the most fun day of my entire training career. Thanks to a dedicated group of 15 people who contributed their thoughts, ideas, and code, today the AL development community is richer by one tool that I think is quite useful. Check it out, give it some love, and let me know what you think about it.

In the meantime, I want to give special thanks to Matthias Rabus, Valeri Bojarski, Yevgen Kochetenko, Kerstin Becker, Julian Geiß, Alexander Cegla, Monika Wichrowska, Job Louage, Patrick Pichler, Konrad Milewski, Wolfram Siener, Morten Rasmussen, Ole Wunschmann, Bjarki Hall, and Timo Zacker for their dedication and effort today. This extension is alive today thanks to you. You were an amazing group!

Now back to TechDays, there are more sessions to deliver and attend, many more hands to shake, and some good Belgian beer to drink in a great company.

Vjeko

Vjeko has been writing code for living since 1995, and he has shared his knowledge and experience in presentations, articles, blogs, and elsewhere since 2002. Hopelessly curious, passionate about technology, avid language learner no matter human or computer.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Dmitry

    Hi Vjeko,
    Nice one, but I cant install it.
    “Can’t install ‘vjeko.al-pragma-explorer’ extension because it is not compatible with the current version of Visual Studio Code (version 1.70.0).”

    1. Vjeko

      Well, easy to fix: Install the version it’s compatible with (which is 1.71.0) 😉

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