On October 23 the technical track of the Opgona Junior Training continued with the 3rd week. This week is shortly described as AL Solution Development, in which things learned in the first two weeks come together. Where the 1st week was focused on getting the students to know Business Central as an – ERP – application, the 2nd week introduced them in the basic capabilities of Business Central as a development platform, week 3 is about combining functional knowledge and technical skills as a developer in order to extend standard Business Central with new features. Whatever their size might be.
week 3 – technical track
Three weeks after we parted at the end of week 2, we got together again and started with a short lookback on what the students had been doing on the job and how that related to things learned in that 2nd training week. After that the trainer, Luc van Vugt, shortly dwelled over the home work assignments the students had been working on: researching and writing two essays on (1) what methodology is used at your company and (2) what will it entail to be a developer in your company.
Now it was time to pick up the challenge ahead in this week: AL Solution Development. In the next four days the students were going to learn about the various standards that Business Central is build on/up with. Data model, architectural patterns and other coding best practices. These were all going to be applied by means of one big business case called Seminar Registration.
On this first day the master data and document patterns were introduced and implemented. They were not only discussed as patterns on their own, but also in the context of the bigger standard data model (see image above). What is the data structure behind an average Business Central module like Sales or Production? How do things relate and what is the data flow through it?
Day 1 did also introduce the students to another facet of modern (AL) development: source code management and build pipelines. And to work planning. From this day on each student was not only going to build an BC extension, but also safeguarding their code in a Git repo on Azure DevOps through pull requests (PRs) – reviewed by the trainer -, triggering a build pipeline to validate it technically and showing their progress on the sprint taskboard.
After a packed morning the students were working on the first part the whole afternoon with the goal to get the master data and document part implemented.
Day 2 started with the quiz that has become a standard part of the Opgona Junior Training methodology. The students send in one or more multiple choice questions that relate to the topics discussed and worked on the day before. Complemented with a bunch of other questions from the past the students knowledge and understanding are challenged. The most valuable part are the discussions triggered by these questions.
The quiz was followed with a review of the code built the day before highlighting details that make up master data and documents. Given the first, basic part of the data model we stepped into the second part: journals, ledger entries and posted documents. And of course the process that links this all together: posting routines. Journal and document posting. Altogether a sizable challenge with a lot of details and the call on the students to keep an overview.
Another day, another quiz, another review of the work done the day before with 3 students that had worked hard on it and were close in the pace with which they got done. A pace, btw, faster than in any of the previous runs of the Junior training. A big compliment to the lot.
Almost half way the week, the basic parts of the Seminar Registration module had been laid out enabling the user to create, plan and post seminars. Ready to enrich it with more standard features: a role center, the Find Entries feature, notifications, permission sets, and somewhat more. Everything moving quite smoothly. Time to leave more responsibility to the students deciding what PRs they are going to get approved by the trainer and what not.
After the quiz and review, the last part of the Seminar Registration case was awaiting: statistics and dimensions. Some need usage of the fixed page control to organize data, FlowFields as easy implementation for calculating totals in specific periods of time and dimensions as a generic way of extending/enriching data.
For this week the Seminar Registration case came to an end. We will however continue on it in the context of more dedicated features: test automation, reports, data exchange and data upgrade.
The last day and, thus, last quiz of the week. Based on this, now looking back, it’s clear we discussed a lot of details adding, in a interactive way, tremendously to the knowledge of the students. Recapping things of the day(s) before, but also adding new matters.
After four days of diving into important basics of AL Solution Development it was time to pick a new assignment in which the new acquired skills and knowledge had to be applied: the Support Registration case. Based on a high over requirements document the students started that Friday on a ambitious project to be completed on a to be set deadline by themselves.
After reading the document, posing questions to clarify various details the students updated their local environment and took off with the first task on the sprint taskboard.
Last day of week 3 time to split up again and meet online on Monday November 20 for week 4a. But before we parted deadlines were set.
And also before we parted the trainer had a 1:1 which each of the students to give feedback on how they are doing, but even more to allow them to give their feedback and tips toward the trainer.
Now that week 3 has passed our outlook is on the next week, week 4a, starting on 20th of November 2023. Based upon the Seminar Registration case the technical track will tackle Reporting and Automated Testing.
Looking forward to our next course week.