Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains is written in Great Plains Software programming tool: Great Plains Dexterity. Dexterity in turn was built with conception of graphical cross-platform transferability (in time 1992 mostly Mac and MS Windows). Plus Dexterity had database abstraction level (through C programming language). The result of such a shrewd future-looking architecture Great Plains ReportWriter has multiple restrictions and drawbacks.
Lets first look at the advantages of using ReportWriter:
Seamless integration with Great Plains forms the most typical scenario you modify SOP_Long_Invoice_Form or SOP_Blank_Invoice_From and then print your invoices with modified form usually with your logo and changed formats and positions of the fields
Parameters Entry Forms. Each existing report (Reports section) has associated parameters entry form.
No Cross-Modules links. You can not associate report with the tables from non-related modules. For example you can not have Sales Order Processing (SOP) and Purchase Order Processing data on the same report (you actually can but you need Dexterity programmer help)
Custom Reports. You do not have parameters entry interface for your custom reports, but you could use restrictions to restrict the selection. Custom reports could be used to export data from Great Plains in text (and then Excel format)
Advanced ReportWriter programming
Rw_ functions in Great Plains Dexterity. When you need cross-modules data on the same report (Bill of Lading, which you could produce on the base of Picking List) you need to move the report you want to customize into your custom DYNAMICS.DIC and fill the gaps with RW_ functions these are allowed to be placed on the report with parameters
If ReportWriter doesnt do the job:
Crystal Reports. Current version 8.0 and 8.5 (July 2005) are MS SQL Server based, where Crystal Report could work at will and produce all the desired links we recommend you to base Crystal Report on SQL Stored Procedure or SQL View. You call Crystal Report engine via Modifier/VBA you need Customization Site Enabler license. If you are on Great Plains Standard version: 7.5, or Great Plains Dynamics/eEnterprise 7.0, 6.0, 5.5 or 5.0 Btrieve/Pervasive SQL/Ctree you need to install Pervasive SQL driver (or Faircomm driver for Ctree)
Good luck with implementation, customization and integration and if you have issues or concerns we are here to help! If you want us to do the job - give us a call 866-528-0577 or 630-961-5918! firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew is Great Plains specialist in Alba Spectrum Technologies ( http://www.albaspectrum.com ) Microsoft Great Plains, Navision, Microsoft CRM Partner, serving clients in California, Minnesota, Illinois, Washington, Florida, Arizona, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Canada, UK, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Russia