Empowering Dynamics 365 development with GitHub Copilot

  • Posted on May 30, 2024
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

Our ERP asset engineering team builds and maintains industry-specific add-ons and accelerators for Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management. We take pride in owning a wide range of apps across various industry segments, working closely with other leaders to make sure our solutions remain a key differentiator. Additionally, our team champions Data and AI initiatives within BizApps, maintaining the high-performing Avanade Advanced Business Insights accelerator built on Microsoft's latest data platform Fabric.

Enhancing code development with AI
We're always looking for ways to empower our teams and streamline our X++ development processes. While X++ is a strong foundation for modern Dynamics 365 applications, there's always room for improvement. This is where GitHub Copilot caught our attention.

This AI-powered development tool has the potential to significantly improve our X++ development experience by suggesting relevant code completions and functions. Here's how it benefits us and our clients:
  • Increased developer productivity: Copilot can reduce the time spent on repetitive tasks and boilerplate code, freeing up valuable hours for essential activities like code reviews and best practice checks within an implementation project.
  • Reduced errors: Auto-completion of common syntax and function calls can minimize typos and errors, leading to overall better code quality.
  • Exposure to new techniques: Copilot's suggestions can introduce our team to new coding approaches and libraries, fostering a culture of continuous learning and exploration.

Unlocking potential for our team
To empower our entire development team, we've implemented GitHub Copilot and are actively using it to help us in the following ways:
  • Identifying and resolving code problems
  • Streamlining code reviews
  • Optimizing code for better performance
  • Providing explanations and simplifying complex code for junior developers

GitHub Copilot under development
It's important to remember that Copilot is still under development (Preview) by Microsoft. Code suggestions should always be reviewed, especially until the feature fully matures. Additionally, Copilot may generate code snippets in languages other than X++ or that don't align with the prompt's purpose.
While people may still need to make code adjustments, the benefits are clear, and we're exploring new ways to integrate Copilot into our development activities as we aim to continually imporve development efficiency and deliver even greater value to our clients.

Below are a few examples of how it has helped our development team:

• GitHub Copilot in action:

GitHub Copilot in action

• Code optimization recommendations

Code optimization recommendations

• Explanation of what the code does

Explanation of what the code does

• Contextual code suggestions

Contextual code suggestions

• Copilot generated code

Copilot generated code

• Code optimization for best practice

Code optimization for best practice

In conclusion
GitHub Copilot holds the potential to significantly enhance the entire X++ development lifecycle experience. Its ability to suggest relevant code completions and improve development speed can be an asset for any X++ developer. However, it's crucial to approach Copilot's suggestions with a critical eye and ensure they align with your specific coding needs and best practices.

Copilot could be a game-changer for X++ development, and while this marvellous tool is still evolving, it's worth exploring to see if it can streamline your workflow and boost your team's productivity.

How do I find out more?
You can explore the possibilities of extending GitHub's Large Language Model (LLM) capabilities within your organization's GitHub instance to store our X++ code and provide intelligent responses to developer prompts.

Avanade clients can contact our asset engineering team to learn more about what’s possible at bizappsenggsupport@avanade.com.

Venkat Krishna

Excellent article and great insights towards Copilot phase. 

May 30, 2024

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