Dynamics 365 Business Central Wave 1 2020: what I love and what I want

As you already know, Microsoft last week published the 2020 release wave 1 plans for Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform document. This is the document that announces the roadmap for the next major releases of these products.

Regarding Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, there are lots of interesting new features announced (or planned) and the things that I think will be absolutely wonderful are:

  • API for continuous delivery of the AppSource apps via Azure DevOps services: this will permit to perform a phased rollout of an app to your customers directly from an Azure DevOps release pipeline. This feature will not be available immediately for all partners.
  • Improved set of migration tools: you will find some improved features for data migration betweem on-premise and online version and from v14 on-premise to v16 SaaS release.
  • Printing management and barcodes: one of the biggest lack today is direct printing on SaaS. The Team is a tively working on this and in the next major you’ll find some new events and features for handling cloud printing. I think that more should be done on this aspect.
  • AL interfaces and many other language-related features: Waldo and Tobias has explained all well. Improving the AL language is a must and personally I hope to see always more object oriented feature. For the on-premise world we’ll have also a way to modify the app.json file (publisher and so on) of the base application without breaking dependencies of standard apps.
  • Telemetry in Application Insights: This is a feature that I love (I’ve talked about it here) and I think it will be extremely important always more in the future to help partners on managing SaaS tenants. As a first step we’ll see detail about long running queries and sign-in issues, but I hope for big improvements in the near future in order to have a full telemetry (errors, warnings, custom telemetry injections and so on).
  • Read scale-out: this is a new feature not too much published, but I think it’s extremely interesting. Business Central artifacts (Reports, API Pages, and Queries) now can get access to a read-only replica of the database. The Page, Report and Query objects have a new property called “DataAccessIntent” that can take values ReadOnly or ReadWrite. This property works as a hint for the server, which will connect to the secondary replica if possible. When a workload is executed against the replica, insert/delete/modify operations are not possible, so a new validation is introduced for ReadOnly objects. Any of these operations will throw an exception at runtime (new compile-time validation will be added in the future).
  • Integration with CDS: this will be a first step on integrating Dynamics 365 Business Central with CDS (don’t expect to have your ERP running on CDS), but it’s a foundamental building block for integrating Dynamics 365 Business Central with the full Dynamics 365 product suite. Please push this feature always more!

There are also lots of other features (actually listed only as “ideas”) that I think should have an higher priority level in the list of “things to do” for the near future, like:

  • On-demand backup and restore of a tenant database (click here for support).
  • Create a production environment from another production environment (click here for support).
  • Production support for Docker containers (click here for support).
  • Report extension (possibility to extend the report’s dataset without duplicating the entire object) (click here for support).
  • Extending keys of standard tables and creating composite keys on standard tables (click here for support).
  • Supporting the debugger experience on a production tenant: I know that we cannot directly attach a debugging session on a production tenant (expecially if the cloud app is spanned on multiple servers) but could be interesting to have the possibility to download a debugging session file (like the .diagsession file available on native Azure web apps inside Application Insights) for fully debugging offline.
  • Improving Page Background Tasks for supporting write transactions: I would like to have the possibility to start a background tasks also for modifying records or launching long-running tasks. Only read-only transactions is not enough.
  • Improving the CRM integration.

I’m sure that Microsoft is listening…

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