There are three types of apps you can choose to either extend or build on top of Business Central, add-on apps, connect apps and embed apps, the latter is probably somewhat unknown to you but that’s about to change!
The three types of apps:
Connect apps are built on top of the Business Central APIs, connect apps are able to leverage from the standard APIs as well as from custom APIs added by either an add-on app or an embed app.
Add-on apps extend and/or add functionality to Business Central, this is done through AL (extensions v2). Add-on apps are installed through the marketplace.
Embed apps are used for lifting and shifting a C/SIDE based solution to Business Central and refactor to extensions over time.
With embed apps you take over the control of the entire application, you become the owner of every single object.
So the real big benefit is that you can lift and shift your entire C/SIDE based solution to Business Central, I can tell you that it is not as easy as it sounds but it’s definitely a lot easier than refactoring your entire solution to extensions at once.
Theoretically, you can lift any application version to Business Central, as long as it’s technically upgraded to Business Central.
Another benefit is that embed apps run in the same service as the ‘real’ Business Central, so you don’t have to worry about availability, sizing and scaling.
There’s one slight difference though, every embed app has its own private cluster(s) that are isolated from the vanilla Business Central clusters.
The lift and shift approach is only available for a few selected partners at the moment, but after a surprising session at Directions EMEA, it seems that this selected group of partners may grow in the (near?) future!
From what I’ve heard the criteria to join this group of partners is not yet defined, but you’ll definitely need a large user base in order to qualify.
Let’s have a look at this picture I took at Directions and draw some conclusions:
In this blog post, I wrote about the impact of Microsoft moving the base application to AL, by looking at this slide it’s fairly safe to conclude that the future of embed apps will also be AL (only?) too! (yay!)
So within 12-24 months, we will be able to fully convert our C/SIDE based solution to AL and then deploy that either to Business Central online (if you’re in that selected group of partners) or on premises.
During this session, Dmitry told us that they’re continuously improving txt2al to improve the quality of the conversion and next to that, they’re refactoring the base app by moving, for example, .NET interop to the platform.
Key takeaways of this session:
- The selected group of embed app partners will grow in the (near) future, you probably need a large user base in order to join this group.
- Within 12-24 months we will be able to convert our C/SIDE based solution to AL and deploy to Business Central, either on-premises or cloud.
- It’s essential to keep your code up to date with Microsoft’s code, merge often.
- Embed apps buy you time to refactor to AL. it shouldn’t be your end goal.
- Start doing conversions of your C/SIDE solution once the base app is convertible.
Want to know more about embed apps or about our embed app journey at cegeka-dsa? Let me know!