Top 5 things I miss in AL

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The community often criticizes Microsoft for adding new platform features only when Microsoft needed them. Well, it has been a bit too harsh – Microsoft did add improvements in other situations, too. But still, if you compare it to other Microsoft’s languages like TypeScript or C#, the AL language isn’t really advancing.

Looking back at C/AL, the AL language has really brought a lot of improvements. We have native JSON types, HTTP API, interfaces, overloads, and a lot more. But still, the overall change of the AL language was minor improvement, rather than a real evolution that transition to VS Code could have allowed.

Here’s the list of top five things I’d absolutely love to see in AL. And I have strong reasons to believe that all of them would be fairly easy to implement for Microsoft. Let’s get started.

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Codeunit interfaces in AL

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Nearly two and a half years ago I had a dream. It was about codeunit references and codeunit interfaces. And today, nearly two and a half years later I am still here, still having the same dream. We still cannot do codeunit interfaces in AL. But it doesn’t mean we don’t need them. We do. We badly do.

Two things triggered me to write this post about how badly we need codeunit interfaces, or any kind of polymorphism: a NAV TechDays talk, and a github project I saw.

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I had a dream: codeunit references

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Polymorphism is a great thing. .NET, Java, C++ and other folks have enjoyed its benefits for a long time, some more than a quarter century already. Meanwhile, we, the meager C/AL bunch, can only dream about it and draft our little patterns that all come short of it if only by a tiny bit.

Sometimes it feels like writing code with a chalk on a blackboard. There may be no end to your imagination, but there is a very real end to what the board can do for you.

But dream we can. And let me have another dream.

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