I’ve been a X++ developer for almost 10 years, that’s the 100% of my professional career, excluding internships. During these 10 years I’ve seen the product evolve and, in my opinion, the last three years with #MSDyn365FO have been the most exciting by far as I’ve said several times.
The move from the notepad-like MorphX to Visual Studio, Azure DevOps and the asset upload and release tasks make me feel like a real software developer. And this has been only the beginning of the journey, we’re now starting with testing automation with RSAT and the ATL, we’ll (hopefully…) finally do testing!
And how can we be better X++ developers?
It takes time
Like learning any other thing. You know nothing on day one, you learn things mainly by doing them, and with time you realize that the ERP is huge and you just know a small portion. Keep learning. Time will pass and you’ll realize that you still know a small portion of Operations.
Love your job
This one might be hard sometimes… be passionate about what you do. Find a company that helps you grow, try having fun at work, it will be difficult, like during go-lives, but even in those moments there’s time for laughs. With passion the rest is easier.
Obviously developers need to know how the processes work from a functional point of view. In case of doubt ask your functional colleagues, don’t waste time digging through the code trying to understand the functionality. After the functional explanation you’ll see the code more clearly.
I always say that programming in X++ is easy, the difficult part is knowing the business processes.
Learn other languages
Get outside X++. Working (or playing) with a different language can help you lose or soften the vices you may have gotten with AX.
Developers usually know more than one language, from previous jobs or from pet projects. C# is obviously a good choice, because we can use .NET libraries in X++ code or we can create ours. Learn the syntax (easy), try the foreach (I’d love having this in X++), LINQ, etc.
I also used to think that, at some point in the future, X++ would be completely replaced by .NET/C# so learning .NET was a good idea. But seeing the latest investments in X++ like SysDa or the ATL I have some doubts in the mid term. Plus X++’s data access layer is wonderful.
Including DevOps. Luckily there’s no option not to use DevOps. But just don’t use it as a source control tool. It’s waaaay more that that.
Explore Azure, it’s huge and the solution to a problem can be there. Azure functions, Logic apps, Azure SQL, Service bus (combined with Business events for example). It’s not AX by itself anymore, 365 comes with friends on the cloud.
After the last MBAS it’s crystal clear that Microsoft is investing a lot into the PowerPlatform. Flow, PowerApps, AI Builder… All these products can be integrated with MSDyn365FO.
A PowerApp can be used instead of a mobile workspace, Flow to send emails when triggered by a Business Event or a CRUD operation.
Learn something about CRM and CDS, you’ll have to integrate them with FnO at some point, for sure.
For me teaching is reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally difficult, I’m a terrible teacher, the things in my head are clear but the link between my head and my mouth is broken. I find very hard to turn my thoughts into words. Writing things down helps me put things in order, because I can write and delete, and write again, and again 🙂
Share your knowledge, do internal training with your colleagues, be a speaker. I never tought about that until I was offered being a speaker at Dynamics 365 Saturday my first thought was “Me? What can I tell that could be interesting to people?”. In the end you just need to pick a topic you know a bit (or nothing at all) of and expand your knowledge, or have stupid ideas and bring them to life!
These are just some ideas, there’s lots of thing that can be done to improve, but the most important is patience. Time and patience.