Exploring the Middle Ground: Simple Dev for Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft’s low-code solutions, particularly in the realm of business applications and Dynamics 365 (D365), offer several compelling advantages:

  1. Faster Development: Low-code platforms, such as Power Apps, allow developers to create applications with minimal coding effort. This accelerates the development process, enabling businesses to meet demand more swiftly.

  2. Cost-Effectiveness: By reducing the need for extensive custom code, low-code solutions lead to lower development costs. Organizations can achieve their goals without investing excessive time and resources.

  3. Increased Technical Capacity: Microsoft Power Platform, working alongside Dynamics 365 or independently, empowers everyone—not just professional developers—to build custom solutions. This democratization of development multiplies technical capacity across organizations.

  4. Integration and Efficiency: Low-code solutions seamlessly integrate with existing systems and data, driving innovation and efficiency. For instance, Power Apps and Power Automate allow rapid development of flexible line-of-business solutions.

  5. Scalability and Extensibility: Azure services complement low-code development. You can scale and extend your apps using services like Azure API Management and Azure Functions, responding to changes quickly.

In there a middle ground?

Getting the most of out of the Power Platform for Business Central does require a bit of AL coding also at times! 

This is not really Low Code - but it is usually simple stuff, not Pro Dev more like Simple Dev.

Simple Dev

Describes the kind of AL coding that is trivial for a regular developer, for which they are (usually) happy to see others do. 

These are likely low risk changes to the system, which don't change the database schema (add or remove tables / fields). Once seeing the steps most consultants can happily add these capabilities to their repertoire and bring greater capability and therefore value to projects & clients.

The rules of the road are important - adding any custom code to a project as a consultant - you are on the turf of Developers and should respect certain practices, to ensure sensible & safe changes / solutions are being deployed to meet the requirements and to ensure good practices are upheld. 

Here are some common elements to agree on for simple dev; speak to your developers to work out what is right for your practice. 

Certainly this topic divides opinion and some there are very good arguments to make for either approach. In some organisations it may simply be the policy that consultants won't do any dev work on project - but even that that doesn't stop you leaning the basics.  

  • Personally I find it very rewarding to enhance my functional knowledge with some technical leaning around the basics of AL coding. 
  • I believe I have better interactions with clients and dev team - after all we are all trying to drive great outcomes and excellent value on projects!

If you are looking for further leaning on AL coding - here are a few I have found useful - this is in no way an exhaustive list 

  • Check out the blog from Dynamics 365 Lab (yzhums.com) as he has a huge library of posts with step-by-step examples of solving problems / meeting requirements though small extensions.