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Debugging

The process of finding and correcting errors is called debugging. With Visual Studio Code and the AL Language extension you get an integrated debugger to help you inspect your code to verify that your application can run as expected. You start a debugging session by pressing F5.

Tip

For more information about Debugging in Visual Studio Code, see Debugging.

Important

To enable debugging the NetFx40_LegacySecurityPolicy setting in the Microsoft.Dynamics.Nav.Server.exe.config file must be set to false. This requires a server restart.

There are a number of limitations to be aware of:

  • "External code" can only be debugged if the code has the showMyCode flag set. For more information, see Security Setting and IP Protection.
  • Not all AL types yet show helpful debugging.
  • The debugger launches a new client instance each time you press F5. If you close the debugging session, and then start a new session, this new session will rely on a new client instance. We recommend that you close the Web client instances when you close a debugging session.

Tip

To control table data synchronization between each debugging session, see Retaining table data after publishing.

Breakpoints

The basic concept in debugging is the breakpoint, which is a mark that you set on a statement. When the program flow reaches the breakpoint, the debugger stops execution until you instruct it to continue. Without any breakpoints, the code runs without interruption when the debugger is active. You can set a breakpoint by using the Debug Menu in Visual Studio Code. For more information, see Debugging Shortcuts.

Set breakpoints on the external code that is not part of your original project. You can step into the base application code by using the Go To Definition feature, and set breakpoints on the referenced code which is generally a .dal file. To set a breakpoint on the external code or base application code, you do the following:

  • Use the Go To Definition feature which opens the “external file” and then a breakpoint could be set.
  • Using the debugger, step into the code and set a breakpoint.

Note

"External code" can only be debugged if the code has the showMyCode flag set. For more information, see Security Setting and IP Protection.

In the following video illustration, the Customer.dal is an external file. A breakpoint is set in the Customer.dal file which is referenced from your AL project to stop execution at the marked point.

Debugger

For more information about the Go To Definition feature, see AL Code Navigation.

Break on Errors

Specify if the debugger breaks on the next error by using the breakOnError property. If the debugger is set to breakOnError, then it stops execution both on errors that are handled in code and on unhandled errors.

The default value of the breakOnError property is true, which means the debugger stops execution that throws an error by default. To skip the error handling process, set the breakOnError property to false in the launch.json file.

Tip

If the debugging session takes longer, you can refresh the session by pressing the Ctrl+Shift+P keys, and select the Reload Window.

Break on Record changes

Specify if the debugger breaks on record changes by using the breakOnRecordWrite property. If the debugger is set to break on record changes, then it breaks before creating, modifying, or deleting a record. The following table shows each record change and the AL methods that cause each change.

Record change AL Methods
Create a new record INSERT Method (Record)
Update an existing record MODIFY Method (Record), MODIFYALL Method (Record), RENAME Method (Record)
Delete an existing record DELETE Method (Record), DELETEALL Method (Record)

The default value of the breakOnRecordWrite property is false, which means the debugger is not set to break on record changes by default. To break on record changes, you can set the breakOnRecordWrite property to true in the launch.json file. For more information, see JSON Files.

Debugging shortcuts

Keystroke Action
F5 Start debugging
Ctrl+F5 Start without debugging
Shift+F5 Stop debugging
Ctrl+Shift+F5 Restart debugging
F10 Step over
F11 Step into
Shift+F11 Step out
F12 Go To Definition

For more shortcuts, see Debugging.

See Also

Developing Extensions
JSON Files
AL Code Navigation