The new code editor in Dynamics NAV

I have really tried to like, even love this editor. But every time I’m using it, it keeps fighting the C/AL syntax and the way C/AL is usually typed. This is actually a step back in productivity for me.

The editor is missing several context aware features that is essential for programming in C/AL – and it even changes correctly typed code into wrong code.

1. Inside a field name with multiple name parts.
Try to type:
GLEntry.SETFILTER(“Dimension Set ID”);
This is what you’ll get if you just type:

Try to type:
rec.SETRANGE(“Account No.”);
This is what you’ll get if you just type:
Cause the dot in No. gets completed to NORMALDATE

2. Field Name parameters to functions like Rec.SETRANGE()

3. Parameters to functions that takes multiple field name like SETCURRENTKEY, CALCSUMS and CALCFIELDS.

4. You can place the cursor on the line for a function definition, but you cannot do anything more. Accept a Enter Key press to insert a new line at the top of a code section would be very nice.

5. You can DOT yourself via intellisense into the options on a option field, and  the source will written with a dot separator, but not the required :: separation. If you type colon the system does this correctly.

6. If a field in Rec has multiple name parts, and you start typing with the double quote ” the intellisense will not show the fields names.

7. Visual Studio is clever enough to figure out that if you type a name or symbol that will un-indent the line. NAV does not do that, so I end up spending more time on fixing indentation than I would if the editor didn’t try to “help” me.

8. When indented, and I want a blank line and pressing enter twice, that will often result in a cursor placement in column 1. (Leftmost)

The TODO list to salvage this editor.

Learn the language – The parser of C/AL needs to understand Pascal based syntax, this is the basis for any “intellisense” functionality to be intelligent.

If I just type code, letter by letter, the intellisense should NEVER change my correctly typed code into wrong code, this is the first rule for any “smart editor”.

Be aware of the open ” (double quote) state – this would solve most of my issues. Either figure out what field list to show as “intellisense” or simply don’t show anything.

There is an option to use the old editor with FINSQL.EXE


But as I started out, I really want to use the new one, so here’s hoping for the next cumulative updates 🙂