Choosing Your Dynamics 365 Business Central Development Sandbox Environment
To get started developing for Dynamics 365 Business Central it is important to understand the different options you have at hand. You can either choose to run a sandbox environment deployed as a Dynamics 365 Business Central service, or you can run a container-based image either hosted as an Azure VM or locally. Both options provide the AL development tools; the container-based sandbox additionally provides access to the C/SIDE development tools. You can also choose to run a sandbox environment with production data using the Business Central Admin Center. For more information, see Business Central Admin Center.
When you publish an app from Visual Studio Code to an online sandbox for testing, it is published within the scope of the service node that is hosting that sandbox. Upgrading the sandbox to a new version means that the sandbox is moved to another node that is running the new version. All apps deployed from Visual Studio Code are removed before the sandbox is moved because they will not be available on the new node. However, the data of an app is not removed, so you only have to re-publish and install the app to make it available. Apps that are uploaded to the environments of both types (production and sandbox) on the Extension Management page using the Upload Extension action are published within a global scope and downloaded to the service node and installed during the upgrade, which means that they will not disappear.
For more information, see Production and Sandbox Environments.
Development sandbox overview
The following table outlines the most important capabilities on the offered development sandbox environments for Dynamics 365 Business Central.
|Capability||Online Sandbox||Container Sandbox|
|Deployment||Dynamics 365 Cloud Service managed by Microsoft||Azure VM or on-premises managed by ISV/VAR|
|Production data||Manually uploaded using Rapid Start packages. Or, available through the Business Central Admin Center.||Manually uploaded using Rapid Start packages|
|Production services||Manually configured||Not available|
|Cost||Part of the Business Central subscription||Locally hosted - free, Azure-hosted - cost incurred|
|Development||Full capabilities of the development environment. Designer functionality, such as: Add/Remove components, Move components, Set/clear Freeze pane, Edit captions||Full capabilities of the development environment.Designer functionality, such as: Add/Remove components, Move components, Set/clear Freeze pane, Edit captions|
|Tools||Visual Studio Code, Designer||Visual Studio Code, Designer, on-premise tools such as SQL Server Management Studio, and C/SIDE.|
|Extensions||Must be manually installed.||Must be manually installed.|
|From AppSource||Available.||Not available.|
|From Visual Studio Code||Available.||Available.|
Based on the overview above and the requirements for your development environment, you can get started with a sandbox by following the links below: