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Microsoft Dynamics GP Development: Dexterity, eConnect, Extender

If you have Microsoft Dynamics GP (earlier versions known as Great Plains Dynamics, eEnterprise, Great Plains Accounting for DOS, Windows and Mac) as your Corporate ERP, and you plan to undertake customization project, please read this small publication to get information session on Dynamics GP modification tools.

We will concentrate on Microsoft Dexterity, eConnect SDK programming and Extender, as in our opinion other tools are derivative from either Dexterity or eConnect.  If you need additional information on such tools as Integration Manager, Modifier with VBA, Web Services for Dynamics GP, please feel free to visit our web site or search official whitepapers on Microsoft Business Solutions portal:
1. Great Plains Dexterity, currently this Integrated Development Environment is known as Microsoft Dexterity.  Dexterity was created as the shell to abstract Great Plains Dynamics from the Operating System and Database Platform layers back in earlier 1990th.  Dexterity shell was programmed in C++ language, as it was common believe those days that C is operating system and computer platform independent (as in nowadays we believe that XML and HTML are computer platform independent as well).  Since the time when Microsoft acquired Great Plains Software and abandoned all the DB versions (Pervasive SQL,  Ctree), but Microsoft SQL Server and respectively concentrated on Windows platform exclusively (Great Plains Dynamics on Macintosh was abandoned earlier by Great Plains Software) Dexterity came through various transformations, such as supporting Microsoft COM objects, Calling Microsoft SQL Server Stored Procedures directly from Sanscript code - these transformations definitely made Dexterity more Microsoft Windows and SQL Server dependent and reduced the chances to migrate to different platform in the future.  Dynamics GP Dexterity is virtually unlimited, however Sanscript programming language is relatively proprietary - even if you can install Dexterity and try to find sample codes to give you an idea on primitive programming in Dex - it should take you several years to become proficient in Dexterity, as it is tightly coupled with Dynamics GP tables structure, business logic and architecture in general.  Also, there is an opinion among some Dexterity programmers, that you have to have access to Dynamics GP Source Code program (Dynamics.dic with Sanscript source code scripts in - Dynamics.dic, which you can install from GP CD or DVD comes with scripts stripped out)
2. Dynamics GP eConnect.  This is SDK or Software Development Kit with Sample Codes in C# and VB.  eConnect base is coded in SQL Stored Procedures (that are encrypted, so you cannot alter or use their logic directly).  eConnect was initially dedicated to Great Plains eCommerce programmers to open GP objects for ecommerce shopping cart - on archaic versions of econnect.  Later on eConnect expanded and currently  (Dynamics GP 10.0 and we expect GP 11.0 version to be released in May 2010) it covers most of the GP modules (except such exotic old modules as Invoicing).  If you are Microsoft Visual Studio C# or VB.Net programmer, we encourage you to invest time in eConnect objects and libraries research - you should be able to program eConnect with very short learning curve or even immediately.  Good examples of eConnect programming projects would be real time ecommerce shopping cart integration (both models Business 2 Business and Business 2 Customer), EDI (Electronic Document Interchange) in both scenarios: your company is master (your vendors must supply their Vendor Invoices via EDI) and your company is slave (you have to issue invoice to your EDI customer electronically)
3. Extender.  the idea of Extender is to deploy Microsoft Dexterity, but provide reasonable abstraction level to enable non-programmer to extend GP with new screens.  In Extender Enterprise version (supported directly by eOne - Extender original development company in Australia) you can even animate your new screens with Dexterity Sanscript code (no way to debug, however, but this is definitely a large step forward).  If you have Extender customization for Microsoft Dynamics GP or Small Business Financials earlier versions: 9.0, 8.0, 7.5, 7.0 - upgrade should be very simple and should not require code review by Extender or Dexterity coders.  Reviewing customizations, designed in Extender, we found that by whatever reason you may expect performance degradation, especially when you upgrade to newer version of Dynamics GP, such as GP 10.0.  Probably it is related to several layers of abstraction: C++, Dexterity, Extender
4. Beyond Dex, eConnect and Extender.  Well, with Great Plains Dynamics, everything was initially centered around GP Dexterity: Modifier with VBA, Report Writer, even Integration Manager, which was deploying Microsoft OLE Server (Great Plains Dynamics user workstation was playing the role of OLE Server).  With the introduction of eConnect, Dexterity paradigm was deemphasized and currently most of the new tools and older tools (such as Integration Manager) are getting based on eConnect technology
5. Automatic Batch Posting Add-on.  By its architecture, Microsoft Dynamics GP user workstation reserves the right to review and post GP batches: SOP, POP, GL, Receivable Management, Payable Management, Payroll, Inventory Control, Bill of Materials, etc.  We have Alba Spectrum Posting Server Add-on, which allows you to extend eConnect, Integration Manager logic to schedule batches for automatic posting (the matter of minutes)
6. Supporting Dynamics GP Modification Projects remotely.  Initially we pioneered in this service back in earlier 2000th.  Our company has presents in all major US metros and hub offices in Chicago, Houston, San Diego, Los Angeles, Atlanta.  We also support you in Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, South and Central America, Mexico and Caribbean and internationally.  Our consultants speak English, Spanish, Portuguese, ChineseScience Articles, Russian

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Andrew Karasev, Alba Spectrum, 1-866-528-0577 - Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains MS CRM Partner, serving corporate customers in the following industries: Aerospace & Defense, Medical & Healthcare, Distribution & Logistics, Hospitality, Banking & Finance, Wholesale & Retail, Chemicals, Oil & Gas, Placement & Recruiting, Advertising & Publishing, Textile, Pharmaceutical, Not-Profit, Beverages, Conglomerates, Apparels, Durables, Manufacturing and having locations in multiple states and internationally. We are serving USA Nationwide: CA, IL, NY, FL, AZ, CO, TX, WI, WA, MI, MA, MO, LA, NM, MN, Europe: Germany, France, Belgium

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