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Dynamics GP Custom Programming in Dexterity Notes for Consultant plus Some History

Historically Great Plains Dynamics was architected in Dexterity – programming shell and integrated development environment.

Somewhere in the very beginning of the XXI Century, when Great Plains Software was acquired by Microsoft with following acquisition of Navision Software, Microsoft announced so-called Project Green.  In the consulting fresh air rumors we were expecting all acquired Corporate ERP to be recoded in something like C#.Net with interoperability and connectivity.  GP was traditionally strong in Financial modules (GL, AP, AR), Human Resource and Payroll.  Solomon was probably strong in time in Project Organization Accounting.  Axapta was positioned to create a suit in Process Production (food processing, mining industries, etc.).  If this scenario would be realized, then by today Dex would be long time gone.  However it remains one of the dominant tools and we are really excited to monitor Microsoft Dynamics family of the Corporate ERP application coexistence, despite to the expectation that they are likely to compete with each other.  This small paper is not intended to be precise software development guide.  We are rather coming out to get some fresh air and share with you our long time consulting and programming experience.  Let’s take a look at Dexterity in some details:

1. Shell written in C++.  In late 1980th there was popular believe that such programming language as C, which is very close to processor Assembler, and at the same time realized on the majority of PC, Macintosh, Unix, Solaris blends should provide operating system and graphical user interface neutrality.  And the idea is understandable.  If you were programmers in old-good-days 1980th you probably remember the fight for the market share between Microsoft Windows, Mac Operating System and Unix (Solaris, Mainframes and Mini Computers) and the born of Java (where the idea was also to provide neutrality via Java Applets and Enterprise Java Beans, while deploying programming language syntax very close to C++ and C blends).  Later on Microsoft in its .Net paradigm probably played similar card by introducing C# (which is in essence also close to Java and C++, but it is tweaked to include .Net instruments).  SAP deployed similar concept and introduced its own shell ABAP.  Great Plains Software introduced Dexterity shell with its semi-proprietary coding language Sanscript (probably the name is associated to Sanskrit – ancient language in India with potential links to European ancient nation)

2. Dex constructions.  It is reasonably flexible in building Windows graphical forms and scrolling windows.  In older versions you were able to build graphical custom user interface on Mac platform.  C and C++ programming languages initially had very little support to database access methodology.  Dex resolved this problem by adding cursor based DB access methods.  Plus, later on direct SQL stored procedure call (as well as raw SQL statement) was incorporated.  There was the reason for Dex architects to be reserved to SQL methods.  As you remember in late 1990th MS SQL Server Transact SQL and Oracle PL SQL were competing and these two database access instruments were not really compatible.  Dexterity had to play the cards to keep Dynamics on several DB platforms, such as Microsoft SQL Server 2007/2000 (Dynamics CS+ and eEnterprise), Pervasive SQL Server 2000/Btrieve and Ctree (GP Select)

3. Change with Microsoft Acquisition.  Of course, GPS being relatively small player on the Corporate ERP software development market had to keep dancing with all major computer hardware, operating systems and DB platform vendors: Oracle, Linux, Unix, MySQL, MS SQL Server and Microsoft Windows Servers and user workstations, Mac OS.  When Microsoft took the ownership the obvious objective was to eliminate subcontractors, such as Pervasive SQL 2000 and Ctree.  The last version where these non-MS SQL Server databases were supported was 7.5.  Following version 8.0 was available exclusively on MS SQL Server (where the smaller customers were offered MSDE 2000 – scaled down version of MS SQL Server 2000).  For Dexterity evolution the direction was pretty straight forward – support Microsoft Transaction SQL and forget about “universal” SQL constructions

4. GP renaissance with release 2010/11.0.  To admit you the true feeling back in 2008 and 2009, we were not sure if Microsoft Business Solutions would be able to reinforce Great Plains Dynamics and make it regaining market share (versus possible maintenance mode and giving up earned cash to support Axapta Dynamics AX expansion in USA and Worldwide).  However Microsoft did its job and GP licenses sale was increased in 2010 and 2011

5. GP on the international Corporate ERP market.  Here we see the dedication to just several regions: English, Latin American Spanish (except continental European Spain), Arabic, and French Canadian (not available in France).  Please, note that it is not available in Brazil, which speaks in Brazilian Portuguese (consider SB1, Axapta or Microsiga in Brazil, possibly Navision).  Technically it is possible to translate GP interface to such ASCII compliant languages as Russian, but RF legislation is too complicated and we do not recommend this approach to companies expanding to Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Belorussia, Ukraine (1S Bukhgalteria, Axapta or SAP Business One would be better options)

6. Chinese hieroglyphs.  Dex doesn’t support Unicode characters (two bytes in data storage).  There are some ways to store hieroglyphs in GP, one of the popular tools is NJ Star.  There are also several ISV vendors, offering on the fly Great Plains user interface interception with translation to Chinese, Swedish, Hungarian, German.  We are a bit skeptical about recommending these approaches as the major Corporate ERP local tax legislation compliance question is not addressed (and obviously could not be addressed via such shortcuts)

7. And now Dexterity programing and customization distribution.  You export your custom piece from Dynamics.dic file in the form of chunk (CNK extension)

8. For additional information, please feel free to call us  1-866-528-0577  or  1-630-961-5918       (this number works for international customers) or email us help@albaspectrum.com We serve you USA/Canada nationwide via remote support (web sessions and phone/Skype conferences). Local service is available in Western Michigan, Chicagoland, Southern California (LA, Orange County, San Diego)Science Articles, Houston area of the state of Texas

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Andrew Karasev, http://www.albaspectrum.com Great Plains Dynamics GP and eEnterprise Certified Master, Microsoft MVP and consultant with 10 years and plus experience and expertise. Alba Spectrum,             1-866-528-0577, help@albaspectrum.com If you are thinking to implement Dynamics GP in challenging environment, we recommend you to give us a call



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