Since last week the system app of Business Central is truly open source:
microsoft/BCApps: Repository for collaboration on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central applications. (github.com)
But you can also contribute to the Business Central Base App in a private repo. There you can address issues and fix them but also get features in the Base App through BC
Before you start to contribute you have to create a docker container. There is a small script from AL-GO for Github. This will create a local docker container where you can publish the Base App to.
Creating that docker image will take almost an hour to create.
But on Directions EMEA my colleague Tobias Fenster | LinkedIn introduced together with COSMO CONSULT: overzicht | LinkedIn a new service! With this service you can create a docker container and contribute with the Alpaca toolkit:
I have tested it last week and I really loved it already (and no I don’t have shares 😉). Only creating a docker container and prepare it for the Base App took me around 5 minutes (only downloading .netpackages takes a while).
Steps to take
First you have install the new app in VS Code called “COSMO Alpaca Preview”:
After this you can create a container and give it a name:
After a while the container is ready to use:
But when you want to publish the Base App to the container you need to prepare the Docker Container. This can be done in one single step “Prepare for base app deployment”:
With this step all the apps will be pushed to the dev scope and the NST will be restarted (otherwise it will think that it is still in the tenant scope).
Then you get do:
- “Create launch.json for this container”
- Download the symbols
- Download .netpackages and put them in the .netpackages folder
- Add the runtime version to the app.json
If you have done this and reload VS Code:
You will see that there are no errors and you can start contribute to it 😊.
This setup is really fast and good to see that this initiative from Jesper Schulz-Wedde | LinkedIn is getting better and better toolings around it!
With the Alpaca tooling you get 20h per month free running time. So you need to stop your container when you are finished with your developments. But I think with 20 hours a month and that many developers in the community we can make a difference!
A nice guide and a short video you can watch here:
Base App contributions with COSMO Alpaca | COSMO Alpaca (cosmoconsult.com)