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SAP Business One Customization or how do we modify user interface without programming

Customizability is one of the factors for ERP platform to be successful on the competitive software market.† The history of adaptable software begins with reserved so-called user defined fields and simple interface to name them.† Good example is old Great Plains Dynamics and its successor nowadays Microsoft Dynamics GP.

This approach is pretty limited and if you remember old accounting packages it was normal scenario to invite programmers to have them create custom tables, provide user interface to their editing and link these tables with core functionality ones.† Custom tables were separated in special dictionary and each new version update was associated with the need to review the tables as well as the code to be compatible.† Modern accounting packages consider customization as something that should be handled on the level of metadata and the metadata itself is subject to reside in SQL database.† This approach resolves possible future issues with customization upgrade as it is not separated from the core logic.† SAP B1 is good example.† Letís take a look how you can add fields to existing table and instantly get user interface created automatically:

1.†Customer invoices eligibility for sales commission.† Letís assume that you would like to exclude some of your business partners from commission accruals.† In tools menu follow Customization Tools and then pick User Defined Fields Management.† Expand Master data and then Business Partners.† Here click Add and apply your fantasy to create new field which will be added to the table in core business logic

2.†How do we now access newly created field?† Letís follow the example with business partner.† When BP form is open then in menu click on View and mark User Defined Fields.† At this point simple interface to edit the field should popup attached to the right of the Business Partner form

3.†Is this field now available for being part of programmed logic in Microsoft Visual Studio and SAP BO Software Development Kit?† Yes this is very good point.† Again we would like to note here that if you just need new associated information to be part of the record being used in Crystal Report for example then coding is not required.† However if you would like the field to be associated with custom integration then it is immediately visible through SDK libraries

4.†Is it possible to update such user defined fields via SQL stored procedure?† We would like to use such classification that it is probably safer to update those fields comparing to the fields in core table part.† SDK libraries are neutral to such phenomena as data compromising.† We would rather recommend more sophisticated way of creating user defined table and then populating it via SQL stored procedure or direct insert statements and then use smart Software Development Kit libraries to move imported data to core tables.† If you do it this way then in the future your custom tables metadata is version update proof and all you need to do is to review SDK code and recompile it with new DLL libraries

5.†If we would decide to program SDK then which coding languages would you recommend?† Likely C# and VB however you are free to choose your own language such as Delphi.† The reason we recommend C# is because code snippets are available in VB and C#.† But modern Delphi programmer should be comfortable to translate

6.†Please call us 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904,† We have local presence in Chicagoland, Southern California, Atlanta Georgia, South West MichiganArticle Submission, Houston and Dallas areas of Texas. We serve customers USA and Canada nationwide and internationally via web sessions and phone conferences (Skype is welcomed).† We are working on Brazilian ERP consulting market in Sao Paulo since 2004

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Andrew Karasev is SAP BO consultant and Great Plains Certified Master, MVP, 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904. He is also the initiator of eFaru project and founder of Alba Spectrum information space

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