Last month, we spoke about how Microsoft is looking to support SMEs and Microsoft Dynamics professionals who are trying to go beyond the limits of their basic accounting software with Microsoft Dynamics Business Central. This all-in-one business management solution helps connect different components of a business together, facilitating smarter decision-making. Now available, Microsoft has launched the on-premises version of Business Central to all users, with an expected cloud edition expected to roll out later in the year. Introducing Visual Studio Live Share Microsoft Dynamics developers who have been looking to build extensions for Business Central in collaboration with each other will be able to, thanks to a new platform called Visual Studio Live Share. Currently in preview, the tool was announced earlier this month at Build 2018, and is set to help developers to securely collaborate in real-time with other team members to debug and edit code directly from pre-existing systems. According to Microsoft, developers can use "Live Share with any language for any scenario," including Internet of Things development, cloud-native, or serverless computing. Getting access to these new collaborative features is straightforward: developers open Visual Studio Code and the Extensions Marketplace and install a VS Live Share extension. From there, collaboration is simply a matter of restarting Visual Studio Code and then a sign in will be required so that users can identify each other. According to one Microsoft MVP and NAV developer, Stefano Demiliani, "this is a killer feature for Visual Studio and especially for developing extensions with AL. I recommend install[ing] it on your Visual Studio Code if you want to improve your productivity when working in teams". Accelerated learning While collaboration in itself might not seem remarkable enough to write a whole blog post about, releasing this expansion this early in its lifecycle says something about the ambition that Microsoft has for Microsoft Dynamics Business Central. Putting the power in Business Central developers’ hands to collaborate to create new innovations for the platform means that learning in the community will happen at an accelerated rate, and this will only increase adoption rates of the tool as well as improve overall awareness. It won’t just improve knowledge dissemination, however, it is also likely to get new products into end-users’ hands more quickly, too, as a result of a more streamlined debugging process. So this means better code at a quicker pace. With multiple developers able to scrutinize a code base simultaneously, and in real time, this really opens the door for quicker development speeds and ultimately greater numbers of products in the hands of end-users. At Conspicuous, we are always excited when we see new ways for Dynamics developers to create. Collaborative tools like these are also great for organisations who would like additional manpower but don’t quite yet have the capital to bring on an additional member of the team quite yet. One of the best things about the internet is that it has led to complete democratisation of knowledge, and for Microsoft Dynamics Business Central, Visual Studio Live Share does exactly the same thing.
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