Personalization vs Design in D365 Business Central

I’ve just finished with my presentation on eXtreme 365 about new in Dynamics 365 Business Central and I want to continue my texts about new solution, because I’ve already wrote about some basic expressions.

With Dynamics 365 Business Central we’ve got some new features for customizations and “customizations”. Previously, you could use Design mode as In-App Designer to make some basic customizations or to download it as extension code, open in Visual Studio Code and continue with development. But now we have personalization as well and I want just to show what is basic difference.

When you run standard environment, you can see only ‘Personalize’ in settings.

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But if you run sandbox environment, you can see both ‘Personalize’ and ‘Design’ options in settings.

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If you choose ‘Personalize’ options, you will get something similar as the following picture:

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You will see red frame and that means you can personalize your page or pages. You can move or hide some parts. But you can also add new fields (existing fields from table), or set new place for Freeze Pane. What is else new? If you run list page, you can stretch your columns. You can do it in all pages where you want and when you finish and click on Done, system will collect all your personalization and you can continue to use them.

But if you run ‘Design’, you will get the similar screen, but this time with purple frames.

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Generally, you can do more or less the similar things with Design feature as with Personalize. But this time when you finish everything you planned you will create Extension. When you finish everything and click on Stop Design, you need to fill Extension Name and Publisher and save it. And if you plan to add some bigger changes, you can choose do mark Download Code field and then you will download AL code which can be opened with VS Code and add more seriously customization.

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Anyway, when you use Design mode, everything you done will be showed and installed extension:

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And on the end I would like to add some conclusion. These conclusions are based on advice from some my friends and readers and I think they are in right, because it will be more clear.

Personalization is, as stated, a personal affair. Any changes I make are applicable only to me. This is of course a highly valuable feature in production environments (what you called “standard environment”) to have my workspace optimized just right for how I work.

Designing, on the other hand, applies to all users on that environment. It is intended for Developers or power users to create lightweight extensions that will ultimately be used by all in the organization. The extension produced by the Designer could be edited and enriched further in Visual Studio code where the possibilities are endless (through AL code). Eventually, that extension could be submitted to AppSource for distribution at scale, or it could be imported into a customer’s production environment to customize D365 Business Central.
Since Designing is a technical and mostly dev-focused activity, we don’t enable it in production environments. That is also why Designing gives you a few more features, such as being able to preview your creation as it would appear on a tablet or phone.

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In-Client Designer in Dynamics NAV – June Update

To continue yesterday’s article about In-client Designer in Dynamics NAV as I promised. If you want to check these features from this year June update, you need to deploy Azure virtual machine from the following link: http://aka.ms/navdeveloperpreview.

One of the biggest feature is possibility to customize Role Center. Now, we can reposition or hide Cue  or Cue group on Role Center. And not only on Role Center, we can also do it on any page where we have cues.

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What is more new in In-client designer? When we want to finish our customization, system will ask us for our Extension Name and Publisher as well.

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When we save it, system will download it as a zipped VS Code:

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Of course, we have a lot more features and improvements, but they are mostly related to VS Code. In some new articles, I’ll show more about it.

In-Client Designer in Dynamics NAV

Recently, Microsoft published new Developer Preview for the next NAV version. If you try to find it on Azure portal as one of the NAV virtual machines, you will find “Dynamics NAV ‘Tenerife’ Development Preview”.

When you install run NAV after deployment, in the first moment you will not see ‘Design Mode’ icon. To get it, you need to run ‘Install New Developer Experience’ PowerShell script. After that you can try In-client designer. Now let’s see some of the features. This tool can be used for page design.

Currently, we can work only with Fields and not with Actions, Parts and Pages. If we run design for the list page, we can change an order on columns, remove some of fields, add them and set freeze pane.

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The same situation is if we want to make some customization on card page; we can do everything the same as on list, except adding freeze pane 😊. But this is with standard fields on pages. On the other side, we can add fields on card part pages. We can notice that we have context oriented fields for part pages. And also, we have some controls, as we can only drop media fields onto card part pages and we cannot drop a field under a repeater control, because this is not the design that list pages were intended for.

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And finally, we can add or remove some parts on role center. When we decide to finish with customizations, we just need to click on ‘Stop’ and system will ask us what to do with ours work. System will offer to save the changes to the tenant for all users, or to save the changes to a VS Code package file that we can work on later in VS Code.

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On the first sight, that is all, but if you create Azure VM using http://aka.ms/navdeveloperpreview URL, you can get some newer features. More about this in the next post.

New Development Tools for NAV

Today, Microsoft has been published preview of new development tools for NAV as promised (before the Christmas). New tools are intended for extensions and apps development.

We have two tools:

  • The In-client Designer to make extensions in the client by consultants.
  • Visual Studio Code for building powerful extension and apps development, based on tables, pages and codeunits, using the new objects Page Extensions and Table Extensions.

You can start if you have your own Microsoft Azure subscription, using the following link http://aka.ms/navdeveloperpreview

More about it on Microsoft blog.