The RAD file: what is this?

When it develops, sometimes we don’t pay attention to what happens around our AL files. Files appear, things happen, that the most inattentive do not consider, or in any case they wonder what they are or what is happening, but after the first initial curiosity then they are not given weight to what is happening.

One of these files is the rad.json file. This file is located in the .vscode folder, which is where the launch.json file is located.

But what is it for? RAD stands for Rapid Application Development. Microsoft attempted to replicate an experience similar to what was had in the old C/Side (the acronym has remained the same) which was to identify a modified and compiled application object to instantly see its results. In AL, on the other hand, it is a matter of publishing only objects that have changed since the last publication.

This practice is very interesting for those apps that contain a lot of files, the projects are very large, and the publishing is quite slow. That way we can only publish objects by difference.

Only application objects, page customization objects, and profile objects are managed for RAD. RAD changes will not be persisted when saving, but only when compiling, publishing, and debugging.

There are also precautions involved in using the RAD file, in the sense that if you close VS Code without compiling, publishing, or debugging, all the changes in the RAD file will be lost. This means that in a subsequent session of VS Code you run a RAD publish, the risk is to have an incomplete package despite the success of the publication was successful; Therefore, it is always advisable to make a regular publication before closing.

With application IDs renamed, we recommend that you publish regularly before using RAD compilation because RAD does not check for changes to the IDs.

The command to use for incremental publishing is ALT+F5. To perform incremental debugging using RAD, the command to use is CTRL+ALT+F5.

In a RAD file we will never find the following files packaged:

  • Translation Files
  • Permissions Files
  • Report RDL layout files and custom reports
  • Table data
  • Web Service Definitions

So, to recap, if we have large projects (apps), the RAD (differential publishing) option is an option to take into account; By virtue of the fact that the night, when the best software is born, is too short to be spent waiting for a large app to be compiled.

I hope this article has given you some more food for thought about developing with Microsoft Business Central. If you want to consult the official documentation I leave you the link.

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