And now. a believer?

In this post I expressed my doubts about Visual Studio Code as new NAV developing tool. No regret: I still like that post, but Visual Studio Code AL has changed, and I have changed too.
One fact remains: then I warn I was a rookie. Still I am. Don´t discard a third post changing my mind twice. On the other hand, newcomer opinion could be more useful for people like him, newcomer in AL, but expert in C/AL.
Another warning: for me 365 will remains NAV for a while. The strength of the name NAV in my country is huge. Please forgive if you read still NAV instead 365 in my posts.

AL Improvements.

November 2017 AL version didnt have all improvements AL has now:
The intellisense now is outstanding. There are some features that improve actual for much actual C/AL, see icons when we select image in buttons or select next object ID.
The setup of. json files is easier and download symbols from server is easier too. You can go to existing objects definition, and event subscription has improved too. Some people saw the tool in November was surprised when they see it now.
Honestly, C/SIDE editor has improved a lot since 2016. But the C/AL intellisense is a light intellisense. Try to do this in C/SIDE:
What I can tell you is……. good luck!!! In C/SIDE this is not possible. With VSCode is possible: you have real intellisense everywhere.
I have clone a few days ago a Codeunit from purchases to sales. In C/SIDE I came in every function, go to View/Locals and change the variables. I think will be easier In VSCode. And every day I find things that could be easier in new tool.

Only code objection: productivity.

I think we can be more productive writing only code with this tool. A year ago, I told the same, but for me wasn´t enough, I missed reports and pages assistants, and some IDEs too. Now is enough because I think a NAV programmer must be focused in business logic.
I told then Snippets are a no brainer advantage, but I also said that were hard to create. One month later, found this tool and we can create snippet from existing code with almost zero effort: https://community.dynamics.com/nav/b/conceptsindailynavisionwork/archive/2017/12/29/snippet-creator-vscode-extension

No professional tool objection.

I said we deserve a new and specific tool for us instead Visual Studio Code. I changed my mind about this too. VS Code has improved, and I don´t miss it. The free environment gets us a new advantage for programmers: independency of partner license. People that liked to be a freelance, could become one easier now.
Another great thing about a free and extensible tool: we are a community, more than ever.

The weight of the past.

The only real concern is the old code. C/AL people have serious advantage programming, for them, there is a small learning curve (IMO).
But converting existing code, will be hard. Now could be tools and patterns time to do it easier. It´s a strong effort but a big prize too: the end of upgrading customizations. With extensions we won´t have to do this again.

Profile revolution.

The last though about new environment, is the profile revolution. So far, I don´t think junior profiles suit very well in NAV programming. With VSCode this could change in radical way, and separate two profiles:
  • Senior, current NAV programmers. This profile must do snippets, create patterns and take decisions about subscriptions and events. They also must do new business logic.
  • Junior (code factories, tools and machines). They do develop with the patterns and snippets created by seniors. It´s possible (but not sure) that they do upgrade work with seniors behind giving serious guidelines about events usages.