Business Central 2023 wave 1 (BC22) new features: AL Explorer and AL Home in Visual Studio Code AL extension

Dynamics 365 Business Central

Hi, Readers.
The public preview for Dynamics 365 Business Central 2023 release wave 1 (BC22) is available. Learn more: Link.

I will continue to test and share some new features that I hope will be helpful.

AL Explorer and AL Home in Visual Studio Code AL extension:

Business value:
Over the last several releases we have made a remarkable transformation of our development tools, to align them with the expectations of the worldwide community of developers. Visual Studio Code, GitHub, and Application Insights are the tools used by millions of developers worldwide, and they can now join the Business Central developer community much easier, with less ramp-up time needed.
On the other hand, regardless of our efforts in scaling the developer community, the broader trend shows that we won’t be able to keep up with the demand in that area, so we need to focus our efforts on increasing pro developer productivity as well as re-enabling consultants to do more on their own, like in the classic C/SIDE RAD experience, with little to no dependency on scarce pro developer resources or need to work directly in source code, and still abiding to proper quality and continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) processes.

Feature details:
With the introduction of the AL Explorer, we are bringing a powerful tool to the hands of pro developers and technical consultants, allowing both roles to explore, navigate, and better understand objects in extensions, including object details, dependencies, and extension points, without looking at the code. This increases daily productivity for developers and allows technical consultants to understand high-level structures of extensions in order to specify new features, or even do light troubleshooting.
It also introduces a foundation for future visual editors that can further improve productivity and lower ramp-up time for new developers. In addition, it empowers technical consultants to perform mock-ups and light modifications to Business Central without having to work directly in code, but still be part of integrated CI/CD processes including pro developer reviews, approvals, and automated test and deployment.

As you know, when we customize in VS Code, the standard code of BC is stored in symbols (.app file). But the AL Language extension, cannot open the app file.

All along I believe many developers have been using the AZ AL Dev Tools/AL Code extension below to achieve such basic functionality as object browser. It’s also very convenient.

With this wave, Microsoft has finally added support for the standard.👏👏👏

PS: You need to download and install the next major version of the AL Language extension. (v11)

You can download the AL Language below to experience the new features of the development.


Let’s see more details.

First of all, when you open the VS Code, you will see the AL Home below.
The new AL Home startup page introduces a new communication channel, allowing Business Central R&D to efficiently share news, best practices, upcoming events, urgent information and status, learning content, and more to all users of the AL Visual Studio Code extension.
Get Started with AL
Learn resources


PS: You can also open it with the following new command.
AL: Home

And you can find another new command:
AL: Explorer: Ctrl + Shift + F12

After running this command, you will open AL Explorer.

View, search, and filter objects:
You can easily see an overview of all objects in a given app scope—for example, a whole workspace or selected project—and you can search in object names, and group objects by type.

Group by:


You can click on the Header to modify the default sorting, which is the same as in BC.

Go to source code:
For a selected object, you can quickly jump to source code, whether it’s to develop, read, and understand it, or whether it’s to add breakpoints as part of troubleshooting.

You can bookmark objects used frequently to easily filter a list of objects to only the bookmarked ones—for example, when navigating between those you currently work on.

View extension points – events, APIs, and enums:
To ease creating extension points and to extend existing ones, AL Explorer also allows fast overview of all events and API pages as well as extensible enums that implement interfaces.



Extensible Enums:

Give it a try!!!😁

Business Central Launch Event (2023 release wave 1) 
Session: What’s new in VS Code and AL (It is recommended to check out the Business Central Launch Event directly to learn more about new features)

PS: Microsoft also added two new settings, “al.showExplorerAtStartup” and “al.showHomeAtStartup”.

Specifies whether the AL Explorer is shown at startup
Always: Show on every startup.
Never: Never show the AL Developer Home.
Once: Show it only on first launch.

Specifies whether the AL Developer Home is shown at startup
Always: Show on every startup.
Never: Never show the AL Developer Home.
WhenUpdated: Show if there is updated news.


Hope this will help.

Thanks for reading.



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