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Great Plains Dexterity Development: FAQ

Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains is Dexterity-written application and currently we see increased interest for Great Plains customers to do in-house Dexterity development and customization.  Dexterity itself is written on C programming language and its initial architecture was based on the Graphical and Database platform independence, which C programming language was believed to provide. 

Initially back in 1994 Great Plains Software Dynamics and Dynamics C/S+ were realized for Macintosh and Windows and pretty similar Dexterity DYNAMICS.DIC dictionary worked for Ctree/Faircomm and Microsoft SQL Server 6.5.  In our days Microsoft Great Plains is available for Windows and MS SQL Server only (since version 8.0).  In this small article we would like to give you highlights on the most typical entry level Dexterity development questions

  • How do I install Dexterity.  If you have Microsoft Great Plains Standard or Professional license, you Great Plains CD #2 has Dexterity installation files.  However you need license from Microsoft Business Solutions if you plan to do in-house software development.  If you have Small Business Manager / Small Business Financials – your distributive doesn’t have Dexterity – you need to call your MBS partner and have them to do the job.
  • DYNAMICS.DIC.  This is your core dictionary which should be used for your customization.
  • New Custom forms vs. Alternate Forms.  If you are beginner, please try to stick to new Great Plains Forms.  Do not customize existing forms.  If you open existing form in Dexterity – you should be aware that field scripts are stripped off and if you place your own script over the original one – you will destroy the field logic
  • Dexterity Triggers.  You register them in Startup script – look Dexterity manual.  If you have to deal with existing fields logic alteration you register before or after original script trigger.  Please see the examples.
  • SQL Stored Procs.  Latest version of Microsoft Great Plains is available for MS SQL Sevrer/MSDE only and you should consider combination of Dexterity and Stored procs.  Try to avoid using old Dexterity cursors, statements, like: start range.  Hint – ranges were the instrument of database platform independence and it seems to be not the case anymore.
  • Dexterity Chunk.  You should be aware that Dexterity reserves certain range of the resources for MBS internal developers, you can not modify and use these resources, all the custom resources you create in your customization will use the numbers outside of the proprietary range.  Your new resources will be packed into so called chunk.  Please refer to the manual on how to create the chunk.
  • Customization Upgrade.  The most challenging portion of upgrade is Alternate Great Plains forms.  If you place custom fields and logic on the existing forms then, you should know that Great Plains can change the form for the new version and you will have to review and redo the custom logic.
  • Localization.  Dexterity has string resources – this is where you can translate the strings and have Great Plains work with your native language.  However your native language code should be single byte, not Unicode.  If you need Dex to work with Chinese, Japanese or Korean – there is special utility to enable this feature. 

Happy customizing!  You can always appeal to us to help you with your system.  Give as a call 1-630-961-5918 or 1-866-528-0577,

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Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer in Alba Spectrum Technologies ( ), Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains, Microsoft CRM, Navision, Microsoft RMS, Microsoft Business Portal customization company, serving clients in Chicago, Boston, New York, Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Toronto, Montreal, Brazil, Mexico, UK, Australia, Canada, UK, Europe, Russia an having small offices in multiple states and internationally.

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