Getting You Started with Building Apps

Build your business on Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a business management solution that helps companies connect their financials, sales, service and operations to streamline business processes, improve customer interactions and make better decisions. With this modern business platform, you can easily and quickly tailor, extend and build applications so they fit your specific needs — with little to no code development.

AppSource is Microsoft’s marketplace for your Dynamics 365 Business Central offerings and there are several reasons why going to market with Microsoft AppSource is a great idea. For example, it allows you to promote your brand, expand your reach, accelerate the customer journey and upsell your solutions and it connects you with millions of Office 365 & Dynamics 365 business users. Find more information about which opportunities you have as a partner at: Apps on AppSource for Business Central aka.ms/BusinessCentralApps.

You can bring two types of offerings to Microsoft AppSource:

  • Add-on Apps (that brings your industry expertise to market), Connect Apps (that connect services) and Embed Apps (an end-to-end solution meeting the specific needs of a vertical or micro-vertical industry). What is an Embed App?
  • Or Packaged Consulting Services (that bring ready-made packaged engagements to market).

Guidelines for Business Central Add-on apps

To ease your journey, from the initial listing to the final publication of your Add-on app on AppSource, we have created two whitepapers that outlines 4 consecutive steps that you need to go through. To bring your Business Central offers to AppSource smoothly, we recommend that you check off each step as you progress. We highly recommend that you lean on the guidelines in these whitepapers to support you throughout the process of bringing your app to AppSource:

Getting you started with Add-on Apps

  • STEP 1: Create and set up your accounts

Developing and publishing your Add-on App to AppSource

  • STEP 2: Develop your app
  • STEP 3: Initiate the validation and publication process

Important

Please review all of the steps and follow the Marketing Validation Checklist and Technical Validation Checklist.

STEP 1: Create and set up your accounts

MPN ID

All App builders and app publishers must be identifiable to Microsoft. For this reason, you need to become a member of Microsoft’s Partner Network (MPN) – this will of course be off no cost to you.

PartnerSource Business Center (PSBC) account and your unique license file

Register as a Partner

Developing an Add-on app requires you to be known as Dynamics 365 Business Central developer and requires you to have a unique development license file with a specific object range.

To obtain an object range for developing a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, you must first have access to PartnerSource Business Center (PSBC)

Access to PSBC is provided by having an active:

  • Solution Provider Agreement (SPA) if you are a reselling partner using the Dynamics Pricelist
  • Partner Registration Agreement (PRA) if you are a non-selling partner.

The relevant contract can be requested through your local Regional Operations Center (ROC) Contracts and Agreements Team below:

Object Ranges

When you develop a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central App for Microsoft AppSource, you will need to request access to an object range which holds a certain number of objects with which you can build your solution. In order to avoid overlap between objects used in different solution,each partner is assigned a number of objects in a unique object range. For example, a partner could get assigned the object range 70,001,000 – 70,001,999 which will give them 1000 numbered objects which they can use to develop Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central solutions.

Requesting the correct license file and object range

Depending on where you will deploy your Dynamics 365 Business Central solution (cf. on premise or in the Cloud) you can use different licensing methods and object ranges. There are currently 2 available ranges which you can request. Both have some characteristics which you need to keep in mind:

  • The RSP Object Range (1-69 million): This object range is tied to the RSP Program details. The program details specify that you have to pay quarterly for used objects. However, if you comply with the Certified for Microsoft Dynamics (CFMD) program requirements, one of the benefits of the program is that the quarterly fees on object costs will be waived. This object range can both be implemented on-premises, partner hosted (in C/AL or AL format) or in the Business Central SAAS Service (AL Only format). The RSP Program page describes the process on how to request the RSP object range.
  • The App Object Range (70-75 million): This object range was originally designed to run in the Business Central service only for Microsoft Appsource Apps.
    Today you can implement apps developed in this range both on-premises, partner hosted and in the Business Central SAAS Service. This object range is free of charge, the only requirement on this range is that your objects can be AL only.
    You can request both object ranges here.

You will have to make a choice which object range is best for you. Some partners desire to have 1 product line which can be implemented everywhere, others want to build a new SaaSified app separate from their legacy solutions.

Developer account

A developer account enables you to submit apps and add-ins to Microsoft’s marketplaces, including the Windows Store, Office Store, Azure Marketplace, and Microsoft AppSource. Note, you only need one developer account per company (not one per app submission).

  • Register (or check if you already have access) here
  • A one-time registration fee applies

Choosing a primary contact email and publisher display name

When registering for a Microsoft Developer Account you will be asked to provide an “E-mail address” and a “Publisher display name”. When choosing your display name and primary email account, please take the following into account:

  • Email: To ease submission and avoid missing vital communications we recommend you provide a companywide email/dev center account that can be shared across multiple users so that several people can manage your portal submission.

Although, if you prefer a singular account, where you can add multiple users through the portal, then this is possible too.

Publisher Display name: A display name refers to how you want your company name displayed on your app in Microsoft AppSource.

See example to the right, where the display name is highlighted in yellow.

Consistency is key!

It is key that you use the same display name and email throughout your app submission, as you will be asked to provide them in several different touch points. such as for example:

  • To sign into the Cloud Partner Portal (and creating your app offer)
  • To enroll and sign in to the Collaborate tool and “Ready to Go” platform

Access to Partner Center

Partner Center is the single destination to manage your business relationship with Microsoft. Get Started by clicking this link

Note

This has replaced the Cloud Partner Portal. All AppSource apps have been migrated to Partner Center and you need to utilize Partner Center going forward.

Get onboarded to tools and programs

Create your sandbox environment

You have 3 options to work develop against the current version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

  • If your add-on is lightweight, it might be sufficient to use a sandbox environment
  • If you want to setup a Docker-based development environment on Azure, you can use
  • If you want to setup a local Docker-based developer environment, you can download a PowerShell script available here

The “Ready to Go” program

There are several things to keep in mind in building an Add-on app. The "Ready to Go" program is designed to support you in bringing your Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers into Microsoft Appsource. The program encompasses the following three core support options that you can leverage:

If you want to have more in depth learning resources to get up to speed, then you can get a sneak-peek of the extensive set of "Ready to Go" resources available in the online learning catalog. We highly recommend that you either consume the materials which are built for you in the “Ready to Go” online learning catalog or get coached by one of our ISV Development Centers.

Learn more about how you can leverage the “Ready to Go” program’s different support options here: aka.ms/ReadyToGo.

Register on Collaborate

Prerequisites you need to have to register on Microsoft Collaborate

  • Azure Active Directory (AAD)

Note: If you have Office 365 then your company should have AAD

  • AAD Global Administrator permission

To find out if your company has an AAD account, please check with your Network Administration team for your company.

How your Global Administrator must register for Collaborate

Not all people from your company can initiate the onboarding into Collaborate – only your company Global Administrator has the permission to do so.

To start the registration process, your company Global Administrator must first go to the following link: https://aka.ms/Collaborate

Next, your company Global Administrator must click on the ‘Get Started’ option under the ‘Microsoft Collaborate’ header.

  • Note: If you are properly registered, and have setup your above Developer Account, the registration page should autofill with your Company details. If the page is not filled automatically, please complete the form manually.

Once completed, be sure and click the 'Terms of Use' (TOU) checkbox at the bottom of the registration page. Note: You need to accept the TOU to successfully register.

Click the Next button to complete your initial registration. When successful, you will see the image below.

As the final step, to complete registration, click ‘GO TO DASHBOARD’.

How to use the dashboard to add your coworkers to Microsoft Collaborate If you DO NOT want to add any coworkers:

  • Please skip this part and move on to the next section called “Getting access to the available builds and engagements” to download packages through Microsoft Collaborate.

If you DO want to add coworkers, please follow the 5 steps below:

  1. Log on to Microsoft Collaborate with your Global Administrator account on aka.ms/Collaborate.

  2. Click on the ‘Gear’ Icon on the top right corner of the page and then on ‘Account Settings’ as shown on the image below.

  3. Click on ‘Users’ under ‘Settings’ in the grey panel on the left-hand side of the page. The following image will appear.

  4. Click the grey ‘ADD USERS’ button and leave the default choice to ‘Add existing users’ as-is. Now you can search for the user(s) that you want to add to Collaborate. To add them you need to select them from the menu, and then click the grey ‘ADD SELECTED’ button (see image below).

  5. You have now successfully added your coworker to Collaborate. The added users will appear in your list of users and will now be able to log on to Microsoft Collaborate using the following link: aka.ms/Collaborate

Getting access to the available builds and engagements

  1. Register on Microsoft Collaborate by using your AAD Global Admin account (as described in detail above).
  2. Once you have successfully registered (and added coworkers) on Microsoft Collaborate, your company’s Azure Active Directory (AAD) global administrator should send us an email to complete the on-boarding [Dynamics 365 Business Central Programs](mailto: Dyn365BEP@microsoft.com). We need to manually assign you to the right programs and engagements. Expect a response from us within 1-2 business days.
  3. In this email to [Dynamics 365 Business Central Programs](mailto: Dyn365BEP@microsoft.com), please specify the following:
    • Your ‘Publisher Display Name’
    • The name(s) of the people you have added to Microsoft Collaborate
    • The email address(es) of the people you have added to Microsoft Collaborate (No personal email addresses please)
    • The roles you have given then on Collaborate (Participant, Power user)
    • MPN ID# and registered Partner Name

Next steps

Now that you have completed step 1 (cf. setting up your accounts) you can now proceed to step 2 and 3 (cf. Developing your offer initiating the validation and publication process). Please review all of the steps and follow the Marketing Validation Checklist and Technical Validation Checklist.

Useful resources

Guidelines and general information

Find general information on Add-on apps for Business Central here: aka.ms/AppSourceGo.

Monthly “Ready to Go” Office Hours call

“Ready to Go” Office Hours is a monthly call that takes place the second Tuesday of every month. The call is structured as an FAQ session, where a team of our different experts will be present to answer any technical or marketing related questions that you may have in relation to bringing your app into AppSource. Sign up for the individual calls that you want to participate in here: aka.ms/ReadyToGoOfficeHours.

GitHub

Use the GitHub forum to ask, or search, the community and Microsoft experts for questions respectively. Go to: https://github.com/microsoft/al/issues now and start asking away.

Follow “Ready to Go” engagements on social media

Get insights on what’s happening with Business Central – follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any other technical questions in relation to developing your Add-on app, then please email: d365val@microsoft.com.