Prepare for major updates with preview environments
About one month before a major update, you can try out new functionality in preview environments. Preview environments are Business Central online sandbox environments that you create on a preview version of the application. When you create the new sandbox environment, choose the preview version marked as (Preview) from the version list. This way, you get a new sandbox environment with a preview version of the application.
The following figure illustrates the suggested steps for getting a preview of a major update with example dates for the two release waves in any given calendar year.
For more information, see Major Updates and Minor Updates for Business Central Online.
Practice and test
Once you have the preview, start using it:
Review the new functionality. Try it out, and begin training employees on the new features that are coming.
Validate your extensions.
Upload and install your extensions into the sandbox environments created on the preview version and run through the functionality. Verify that the customization continues to work and is compatible with the new version.
In rare cases, if you discover any changes required for your per-tenant extension to become compatible with the next release, apply the changes to your app, test it again on a sandbox environment running on a preview version. Then, if tests complete successfully, upload the app into your production environment, setting the Deploy to field to Next major version. This way, the compatible version of your app will be used when you schedule the upgrade of your production environment to the new major update once it becomes available.
Test the quality. If you run into issues related to the preview, please provide feedback on Collaborate.
Finally, as always, if you have ideas for features you would like to see in future releases of Business Central, let us know at https://aka.ms/bcideas.
Provide feedback on the preview
We need your feedback on the preview! Let us know about your experiences with the new version. You can provide feedback on Microsoft Collaborate:
Browse to aka.ms/collaborate
If you have not registered before, complete the registration form to access Collaborate (discover the steps here)
Choose Engagements, and then choose the Join action
Under the Ready! for Dynamics 365 Business Central program, find the latest preview version in the list of available engagements, and then choose the Join action
Once you have joined the preview engagement, you can submit your feedback by filling in the form. You must specify if you are reporting a technical issue, a translation issue, or a documentation issue. The default severity is set to 3, which is the normal severity for most defects and means that the system is not crashing and users are not blocked from doing their work, but you can change that. When we have triaged your issue, you can see changes in Collaborate.
For every public preview, we create a "Public preview" group on Yammer. Make sure to join it and feel free to provide your feedback here as well.
If you get stuck trying to join Collaborate or Yammer, please contact email@example.com with as many details about the error that you got and other circumstances.
Guidelines for how to get started
The newly created preview sandbox environment contains demonstration company data. Trying the preview on a copy of your current production data is not yet supported; nor is testing the upgrade from your current version to the preview. However, you can use the newly created sandbox environment for exploring and learning the new product capabilities. You can also use the preview environment to validate that any per-tenant extensions are still working as expected.
If you run your tests on a preview environment one month before the announced major release of Business Central, it is more likely that the coming updates of your production environments will go smoother. This way, you, your customers, and your code are better prepared for the official release.
We expect to update the preview version only if we discover critical issues before the major update is generally available for production environments. Apart from these potential fixes, we do not expect any further changes to the product between the preview and the official release. You can start your testing and learning activities immediately, without waiting for the official release.
You will be able to test the update on a copy of your production data in a sandbox environment when we release the new update in production in April or October, respectively. When the official release becomes available, you can continue your tests on that version. You will no longer be able to create new preview sandboxes.
The preview version as well as all sandbox environments that are based on it will be removed 30 days after the official release becomes available.
Major Updates of Business Central Online
Managing Major and Minor Updates of Business Central Online
Working with Administration Tools
The Business Central Administration Center
Managing Tenant Notifications
Step 4: Getting access to preview bits