Run C/SIDE and AL side-by-side

Business Central on-premises supports development using C/SIDE, AL, and Designer side-by-side. When new objects are added or changed in C/SIDE, these changes must be reflected in the symbol download in Visual Studio Code using the AL Language extension for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. To enable this reflection, a command and argument called generatesymbolreference has been added to finsql.exe and you can run it as illustrated below.

Generate symbols and compile all objects

Open a command prompt, Run as administrator and change to the directory where the finsql.exe file has been installed as part of Dynamics NAV Development Environment.

Use the generatesymbolreference command specified with the database and server name to add symbol references to the Object Metadata table for the specified database.

Given the generatesymbolreference command, C/SIDE will traverse all the objects in the database and generate symbols for them. This command should be run at least once to generate the initial set of symbols to which incremental updates can be applied.

Syntax example

finsql.exe Command=generatesymbolreference, Database=<DatebaseName>, ServerName=<ServerName>\<Instance>

For example:

finsql.exe Command=generatesymbolreference, Database="Demo Database NAV (11-0)", ServerName=.\NAVDEMO


The finsql.exe includes several parameters that you can set to suit your environment. For more information, see Using the Development Environment from the Command Prompt.

This is a lengthy operation. When you run the command, the console returns to an empty command prompt, and doesn't display or provide any indication about the status of the run. However, the finsql.exe may still be running in the background. It can take several minutes for the run to complete, and the symbols won't be generated until such time. You can see whether the finsql.exe is still running by using Task Manager and looking on the Details tab for finsql.exe.

When the process ends, a file named navcommandresult.txt is saved to the Dynamics NAV Client connected to Business Central installation folder. If the command succeeded, the file will contain text like [0] [06/12/17 14:36:17] The command completed successfully in '177' seconds. If the command failed, another file named naverrorlog.txt will be generated. This file contains details about the error(s) that occurred.


The symbol references are stored in the Symbol Reference column of the Object Metadata table of the database. For on-premises installations, if you experience problems with generating symbols, check the information in the naverrorlog.txt file. It is also important that the Filter parameter applied to generatesymbolreference command must refer to Object Metadata fields such as, for example, Object Type or Object ID.

Continuously generate symbols each time you compile objects in C/SIDE

The generatesymbolreference flag enables incremental symbol generation through the UI or through the compile command passed on the command line. To update the symbols for a set of objects from the UI, start C/SIDE with the generatesymbolreference flag, make any desired modifications to your application objects, and compile them.


Use generatesymbolreference set to yes as a command line argument each time you start finsql.exe to have all compilations add a symbol reference to the Object Metadata table. The default setting of the argument is no.


If you make changes in C/SIDE and start the C/SIDE development environment without the generatesymbolreference flag set to yes, the symbols downloaded from Visual Studio Code will not reflect your changes.

Syntax example

finsql.exe generatesymbolreference=yes

This flag is also a part of the Compile-NavApplicationObject PowerShell command and you can use it to compile and generate symbols on a filtered set of application objects through PowerShell. This alternative should be considered if you don't work with the UI in C/SIDE. For more information about it, see Compile-NavApplicationObject.

Business Central on-premises server setting

In addition to the symbol generation setting you have chosen above, you must enable the Business Central on-premises server setting.

  1. Go to Business Central Administration.
  2. Scroll to the Development tab and expand the tab.
  3. Choose the Edit button, and then choose the Enable loading application symbols at server startup checkbox.


This setting must be enabled to allow any symbol generation. If the setting is not enabled, the generatesymbolreference setting doesn't have any effect.

See Also

Developing Extensions