The wonderful week at BC TechDays is over. Lots of new stuff was learned, and lots of great people met. I know that all the sessions are recorded but if you simply think that you can watch all of them and not miss anything you are wrong. Very, very wrong!
I will try to wrap up my personal feelings about the event and what was going on. I should mention that for me this edition was special. First of all, this was my first time as MVP, and second that it was also my first time as a speaker at the main event. Moreover, I have never before (in any event) co-speak with someone from Microsoft and that also was a great experience for me.
Before the conference: Workshops – don’t miss it next time
If you were in any of the workshops I hope you learned a lot. Those two days are special and I want to use this blog post also to advertise it to you if you never attend BC TechDays Workshops. I know that you can learn a lot from the internet. But during workshops you have access to amazing people who are there for those 8 hours only for you – you can focus on the topic, ask any questions, talk about concerns, etc.
For me it is also the time when you can meet new people outside your organization – talk to them, and learn something new not only from the presenter but also from your fellow attendees. This is much harder during the main event since everyone is just running to the sessions and trying to focus on what speakers presenting.
This year, as a speaker I learned that there is a huge interest in Telemetry Workshops so please stay tuned if you missed the TechDays workshops.
Keynote and from the Lab (the Microsoft things)
There are some of the great things that Microsoft did this release – one of them for sure are changes in the Action Bar.
I must say I love how flexible it can be and how you can do grouping. But… (yes there must be a but). There are two thoughts that I have – from a developer’s point of view and one from a consultant’s.
As a developer I do not like the actionref concept – I understand it and why it was added. However, I think that adds some complexity to the development which could be avoided just by adding actions in place of the actionrefs. I see potential in it for the future (maybe cross-page references to actions? ) but I am worried that a lot of developers will stick to the old way of developing the actions only because it is easier.
As a consultant, I think the look is great but I know that before switching this feature off there will be a transition period. It is because many actions will not be in the same place as you expect also users can have problems in the first weeks of using it. So please do your homework – prepare yourself before demoing the product and also talk with users before switching on to avoid support calls and not happy customers.
In the lab section, Microsoft showed 2 things – one I love and one I’m not so sure about. The first one is the new look for list pages. That is WOW, WOW, and WOW. I hope that will go to the product as soon as ready. Because trust me this will save a lot of development hours and will make happy customers and consultants. In short – fewer reports are needed since a lot can be done just by playing around with a list view.
The second one that I am not so sure about is having a designer. I learned how to work without it in VSCode and to be honest, I love to work in it and never would like to go back to C/Side and this is how a designer looks – like bringing back history to the modern World. I watch new developers who started work in AL without knowing anything about C/AL and C/SIDE they do not need it and many of them work better in VSCode than me since they were using it for other languages as well (you should see session from David or Andrzej – how fast they work in it).
On the other side, if you still need a designer to see parameters, fields, tables, etc, there are already some tools that do what Microsoft presented. So why not use them?
The same feeling I have with the new feature related to ApplicationArea. Now you can add one at the top of the page – useful but still this is something that for the past 3 years was not an issue. And if it was – I had one command to fix it.
Don’t get me wrong – I think it is good that Microsoft fixed it but if this is one of the core pain and should be presented as one of the core features in the release? I am not sure about it.
It was very hard to choose the sessions since all the topics were great. For sure I will get back to those that I did not attend and watch them on YouTube.
I went to see one session that I know I would have a hard to find the time for it later – Git Under the Hood by Vjeko. That was a great session and if you want to know what is happening when you use your git commands you should watch it. It is not only great for AL developers but in general understanding how Git works. Open your eyes and allow you to understand it better.
The two sessions that I can recommend about development tools and ways how to develop better and faster are sessions from David and Tobias (Being more efficient with VS Code) and Andrzej (Improve the quality and readability of your code using tools from Microsoft and the BC community)
In both sessions, you could learn something new: how to use regular expressions. Or you can see the coolest feature added by Andrzej to his extension – proposing the name variables (Already using it and it is great).
But the message after those two sessions is: that we have very strong community tools that help us to work faster and easier. I think we all should buy beer/coffee or another thing for all those people making those cool extensions.
If you come back from the conference, please tell your bosses: Thanks to those people you save time and money during development.
And that brings me to another session related to architecture by Jeremy and Kamil. This was a more theoretical session but very important for system architects and developers. Again something that managers should be aware of: if you do something, do it right from the start, even if it takes more time now it will save you money in the end, or will make your customers happy when you will need to upgrade processes or to the newest version.
The Sessions that I missed
There are of course a lot of sessions that I missed. For example, both sessions from Waldo about Performace and Bad Habits (together with Vjeko). Those are definitely on my list first to watch. I also missed a very important session about automated tests and code coverage by Luc van Vugt and Nikola Kukrika, and when Business Central is not enough (by Tobias Fenster and Bert Verbeek). Those four sessions are on my list first to watch. But you should add one more about OAuth if you have not heard it yet.
There is also one session that I missed from Microsoft – about open source. I am a huge fan of it and Microsoft announced a few important news around that: System App will be fully operated on GitHub (now the main repository is not on GitHub) and second is that some parts of Base App also will be on GitHub.
This year I had the honor to have my session about telemetry. I am very glad that I was not alone on stage (and also during workshops). I had the privilege to co-speak together with Kennie Pontoppidan (Thank you Kennie !!!). This was an awesome experience – I must say we both love this topic and can talk about it for hours. There were around 150 people in the session and till now I heard only positive feedback so thank you a lot for that.
I hope even if you were not there you will find some time to watch it. We tried to show most of the important things from basics to more advanced usage as KQL samples, Custom Telemetry, and Notifications to be more proactive.
The Community – BCBeerinar Live
One of the best things about the conference is to meet old and new people. I love to have a chat with everyone, and this (even doing a lot of online events) cannot be replaced. This is why I love so much going to in-person events. I met some of my old colleagues and I also spoke with people never met before. That was great! If you see me please say hi I will always try to chat with you!
We also had the 3rd Edition of #BCBeerinar Live which this time was sponsored by AJ Kauffmann. Thank you, AJ!!! There were around 20 people which is great. It also shows how great a community we built together.