Resident control add-ins – no SingleInstance

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My last topic was resident control add-ins. In my video and written blog I’ve explained what they are and how you can quickly have them up and running. However, there was one particular thing I said I generally don’t like – single-instance codeunits. So my second blog on this topic focuses precisely on that: how to make your control add-in available to your AL code from everywhere, without having to rely on a single-instance codeunit.

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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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Module Binder Pattern proposal
Zlata Praha, by Roman Boed

Module Binder Pattern proposal

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Whoa! This has been quite an event, the Directions EMEA 2016 in Prague. There has never been this many people (1.700+) and it was quite a pleasure connecting again with old friends, and meeting new friends. Also, it has been quite a pleasure listening to many good sessions, and an even bigger pleasure delivering four of them.

And this is why I am blogging now – to follow up on my promise during my Polymorphic Event Patterns for C/AL. I promised you that I’d post my pattern proposal online, and here I am doing it.

Let’s get started.

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Gentlemen’s agreement pattern, or handling the “Handled” pattern

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I’ve delved deep into design patterns story with my last two blog posts, but I am far from over. The patterns I discussed are the ones we could use up until NAV 2015 (we can still use them, of course!) but some more robust loose coupling (excuse the near-oxymoron) can be achieved with what NAV 2016 brought along: events.

It’s the “Handled” pattern. This pattern comes from Thomas Hejlsberg, a chief architect and CTO of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, and was first described by Mark Brummel on his blog. It’s a powerful loose-coupling pattern that successfully addresses the shortcomings of all design patterns I discussed earlier. I would prefer calling this pattern Event Façade rather than “Handled”, but it’s not my baby to christen.

Let’s take a look.

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TempBlob Façade: a pattern proposition

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Achieving some kind of polymorphism in C/AL has always been a problem. The fact that true polymorphism with pure C/AL is outright impossible has not stopped the more stubborn of us to at least give it a try. That’s how some cool patterns emerged.

The façade pattern has been evangelized by Gary Winter so eagerly that he couldn’t find time to formally describe it. The other pattern that comes close is the variant façade pattern. It was formally described at the patterns Wiki page, but – to the best of my knowledge – was first figured out by Arend-Jan Kauffmann.

These two patterns can go a long way. No, they are not coming anywhere near true polymorphism, but will achieve some cool loose binding when you need it.

In my practice, I took a step further, and I think it’s about time I share it. Let’s see if it works for you as well as it did for me.

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