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Extending Application Areas

Application areas represents a feature in the system that offers developers, administrators, and users the ability to define differentiated user experiences.

Application areas are mapped to controls to show or hide them on page objects to enable more or fewer business scenarios.

Extending application areas and the experience tier

In this example you will:

  • Add a new application area in the Application Area Setup table.
  • Enable the application area in the OnInstallAppPerCompany trigger.
  • Extend the experience tier in the OnGetExperienceAppArea event.
  • Modify the experience tier (optional).
  • Validate the application area in the OnValidateApplicationAreas.

Important

The code used in this example is still under active development and might be subject to change in the future.

The following example extends the Customer List page. The field ExampleField is added and it is followed by a series of properties. The ApplicationArea property sets the application areas that apply to the control and in this code, ExampleAppArea is assigned to it.

Important

If your extension fails to use ApplicationArea in any controls or actions, they will not be visible when you use an experience tier.

The OnOpenPage trigger will display the message only if ApplicationArea is enabled.

pageextension 50100 CustomerListExt extends "Customer List"
{
    layout
    {
        addafter(Name)
        {
            field(ExampleField; "Name 2")
            {
                Caption = 'Example Field';
                ApplicationArea = ExampleAppArea;
                ToolTip = 'This is a field added by an example extension';
                Importance = Promoted;
            }
        }
    }

    trigger OnOpenPage()
    var
        EnableExampleExtension : Codeunit "Enable Example Extension";
    begin
        if EnableExampleExtension.IsExampleApplicationAreaEnabled() then
            Message('App published: Example Extension');
    end;
}

Adding an application area

To add an application area, the Application Area Setup table must be extended. A new boolean field is added and the name of this field will be used in the attribute that you want to be tagged with this application area. This particular case, in the code below, is an exception, because space is used inside it. Usually, spaces are omitted in the application area attribute. At this point, the extension has an application area but it still needs to be enabled.

tableextension 50100 "Application Area Setup" extends "Application Area Setup"
{
    fields
    {
        // Spaces in field name are omitted in the ApplicationArea attribute
        // e.g. ApplicationArea = ExampleAppArea;
        field(50100;"Example App Area";Boolean)
        {
        }
    }
}

The codeunit Install Example Extension is of the subtype Install and it enables the application area inside the OnInstallAppPerCompany trigger.

codeunit 50101 "Install Example Extension"
{
    Subtype = Install;

    trigger OnInstallAppPerCompany()
    var
        EnableApplicationArea : Codeunit "Enable Example Extension";
    begin
        if(EnableApplicationArea.IsExampleApplicationAreaEnabled()) then
            exit;

        EnableApplicationArea.EnableExampleExtension();

        // Add your code here
    end;
}

The registration of the application area inside an experience tier is made inside the OnGetEssentialExperienceAppArea. There are different versions of this event, one for each experience tier and in this case, Essential is chosen. This will make the extension visible inside the Essential experience and the event exposes an Application Area Setup temporary record; TempApplicationAreaSetup, to the Application Area Setup table. At this point, to enable the application area, this must be set to true.

Note

This event is important because it is called every single time an experience tier is reset, which can happen because of many reasons.

Another thing that is possible inside these methods is to modify the experience tier. You can also modify other application areas, such as creating an extension that extends the Fixed Assets functionality. By subscribing to OnValidateApplicationAreas, the application area inside an experience tier is validated. OnValidateApplicationAreas is guaranteed to be executed after the events in the OnGet*ExperienceAppArea family. The validation is necessary in the presence of extensions concurrently manipulating the same application areas.

In case a needed application area is not enabled, the suggested action is to show an error and turn off the extension to avoid unintended behavior. However, if the functionality controlled by this application area is of secondary importance and its loss does not affect the rest of the extension, it is also appropriate to keep the extension enabled.

codeunit 50100 "Enable Example Extension"
{
    // Extend and modify Essential experience tier with "Example App Area"
    [EventSubscriber(ObjectType::Codeunit, Codeunit::"Application Area Mgmt.", 'OnGetEssentialExperienceAppAreas', '', false, false)]
    local procedure RegisterExampleExtensionOnGetEssentialExperienceAppAreas(var TempApplicationAreaSetup: Record "Application Area Setup" temporary)
    begin
        TempApplicationAreaSetup."Example App Area" := true;
        // Modify other application areas here
    end;

    // Validate that application areas needed for the extension are enabled
    [EventSubscriber(ObjectType::Codeunit, Codeunit::"Application Area Mgmt.", 'OnValidateApplicationAreas', '', false, false)]
    local procedure VerifyApplicationAreasOnValidateApplicationAreas(ExperienceTierSetup: Record "Experience Tier Setup"; TempApplicationAreaSetup: Record "Application Area Setup" temporary)
    begin
        if ExperienceTierSetup.Essential then
            if not TempApplicationAreaSetup."Example App Area" then
                Error('Example App Area should be part of Essential in order for the Example Extension to work.');
    end;

    // Helpers ................................................................
    procedure IsExampleApplicationAreaEnabled() : Boolean
    var
        ApplicationAreaSetup: Record "Application Area Setup";
        ApplicationAreaMgmtFacade: Codeunit "Application Area Mgmt. Facade";
    begin
        if ApplicationAreaMgmtFacade.GetApplicationAreaSetupRecFromCompany(ApplicationAreaSetup, CompanyName()) then
            exit(ApplicationAreaSetup."Example App Area");
    end;

    procedure EnableExampleExtension()
    var
        ApplicationAreaSetup: Record "Application Area Setup";
        ExperienceTierSetup: Record "Experience Tier Setup";
        ApplicationAreaMgmtFacade: Codeunit "Application Area Mgmt. Facade";
    begin
        if ExperienceTierSetup.Get(CompanyName()) then; 
        if not ExperienceTierSetup.Essential then
            exit;

        if ApplicationAreaMgmtFacade.GetApplicationAreaSetupRecFromCompany(ApplicationAreaSetup, CompanyName()) then begin
            ApplicationAreaSetup."Example App Area" := true;
            ApplicationAreaSetup.Modify();

            // Without this line the app area is enabled only at the next login
            ApplicationAreaMgmtFacade.SetupApplicationArea();
        end;
    end;
}

Adding Advanced application area to the Essentials and Premium experiences using an extension

If you are familiar with Dynamics NAV you will have noticed that Dynamics 365 Business Central is not exposing all the controls/actions that you find in Dynamics NAV. These controls have been hidden so far by using the application area Advanced, which is not assigned to any experiences. For more information, see Frequently Asked Questions.

Most of these fields will become available/visible soon, but until then you will have to create a V2 extension to get (almost) the same experience as you have in Dynamics NAV. See the example below.

Important

Adding the application area Advanced to the experience will mean that you lose some of the simplification made to pages. For example, you will see more actions duplicated on many pages, compared to Business Central where the experience is intended to be simpler than in Dynamics NAV. You must also consider that we plan to re-tag the Advanced actions/controls and add them to the Essentials and/or Premium experiences in a future release.

To enable Advanced in a V2 extension

Depending on which experience you want to enable Advanced for you can subscribe to OnGetEssentialExperienceAppAreas or OnGetPremiumExperienceAppAreas. If you have defined your own experience you must subscribe to OnSetExperienceTier.

The experiences are additive so you only need to subscribe to one of the events. For example, to enable Essentials and Premium experiences you only need to subscribe to OnGetEssentialExperienceAppAreas.

codeunit 50102 EnableAdvancedApplicationArea
{
    [EventSubscriber(ObjectType::Codeunit, Codeunit::"Application Area Mgmt. Facade", 'OnGetEssentialExperienceAppAreas','', false, false)]
    local procedure EnableAdvancedApplicationAreaOnGetEssentialExperienceAppAreas(var TempApplicationAreaSetup : record 9178 temporary)
    begin
        TempApplicationAreaSetup.Advanced := true
    end;
 
    [EventSubscriber(ObjectType::Codeunit, Codeunit::"Application Area Mgmt. Facade", 'OnGetPremiumExperienceAppAreas','', false, false)]
    local procedure EnableAdvancedApplicationAreaOnGetPremiumExperienceAppAreas(var TempApplicationAreaSetup : record 9178 temporary)
    begin
        TempApplicationAreaSetup.Advanced := true
    end;
 
    [EventSubscriber(ObjectType::Codeunit, Codeunit::"Application Area Mgmt. Facade", 'OnSetExperienceTier','', false, false)]
    local procedure EnableAdvancedApplicationAreaOnSetExperienceTier(ExperienceTierSetup : record 9176;var TempApplicationAreaSetup : record 9178 temporary;var ApplicationAreasSet : boolean)
    begin
        TempApplicationAreaSetup.Advanced := true
    end;
}

Application areas advantages and disadvantages

If you decide to code application areas as an extension, there are some aspects that must be considered. Application areas enable hiding entire business scenarios and you can have the same code base, which makes it possible to quickly modify the UI for different business scenarios or audiences. However, tagging errors as missing tags or incorrect tags will occur and every single control will need to be tagged.

See Also

ApplicationArea Property
ApplicationArea Method
AccessByPermission Property
Properties