Dexterity Customization for Dynamics GP Evaluation Level Paper

Aug 8


Andrew Karasev

Andrew Karasev

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When you are developer it is always a good idea to read technical manuals. But if you was just assigned to the IT team to decide if Dexterity is the right tool to customize your ERP application then first you need something which is in style of ‘easy reading papers’ or FAQ


So we would like to recommend you this small document which should give you the clue on additional steps in your homework.  After introduction paragraph we will have frequently asked questions section.  Let’s begin:

1. Let’s try to think about Dexterity as the architecture created for Great Plains Dynamics.  In order to abstract Dynamics from computer Operating System (it was initially available on PC MS Windows and Apple Mac OS) and Database Platform (Btrieve/Pervasive SQL 2000,Dexterity Customization for Dynamics GP Evaluation Level Paper Articles Ctree and Microsoft SQL Server) it was created as a ‘shell’ programmed in C.  Such a shell allows software development company (GPS in its time) to be flexible in switching from one computing platform to another.  It has its own coding language named ‘Sanscript’ which is in our opinion something resembling Pascal in its syntax.  Let’s talk about technical side in the next paragraph

2. You can create or modify tables, forms, reports and scripts plus so-called ‘Base resources’: constants, data types, fields, icons, strings, pictures, messages, etc.  Please note that Scripts might be Global and associated with the forms.  If you are reading this paper at Alba Spectrum website you should see illustrations.  Typical project deploys ‘clean’ Dynamics.dic dictionary file where developer adds or modifies resources

3. Who is capable to do Dex programming in our organization?  Let’s think about several factors.  First of all Sanscript is not difficult language to learn.  If you are comfortable with Delphi, Visual Basic, C# or Java you should be able to recognize code samples.  However in our opinion Dynamics architecture is based on table structure and business processes.  This means that the person should have both software development background as well as knowledge of basic accounting and ERP.  Probably you are good candidate if in college you were taking dual degree in accounting and computer science.  Or maybe if you got programming experience and got certification in CPA, CMA or similar credentials

Let’s take and answer popular questions from our prospects and customers:

Q.  Our objective is to translate user interface from English to Brazilian Portuguese.  Is it possible to translate String resources in Dex?A.  Yes, it should do the job.  However we would rather recommend Modifier which is scaled down Dexterity where translated Strings are stored in Forms.dic.  This is more elegant approach and you do not need to distribute Dynamics.dic with foreign language strings to all Brazilian users

Q.  How difficult is to distribute modification module to end users?A.  There is chunk file generation procedure.  When you have chunk file created you can copy it into user workstation folder and next login will trigger integration of the logic and dictionary will be registered in Dynamics.set file

Q.  What we need is to modify several forms in GP including SOP Entry, POP Receiving Entry and Inventory Item Maintenance.  Could that be done in Dexterity?A.  The answer is both ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.  These forms are often altered in ISV add-ons.  Dex should be able to modify but you would need to disable other ISV products which might be something you don’t want to do.  Additional disadvantage is future version upgrades where you need to review alternate forms and reapply customization.  We would rather recommend you to do that in Modifier which is does what it name suggests

Q.  We were able to contract local programmer but he seems to be in learning curve even considering the fact that our Dynamics GP VAR stays behind him.  We need second opinion and we are not sure why software development job could be different from traditional services or something like car repair.  Project went over budgetA.  We are sorry to hear your sad story.  Software development is risky by its nature comparing to car repair.  Think about the fact that custom programming job is done first time and such side effects as software bugs and learning the infrastructure are inevitable.  You should check references prior to signing contract.  Also we would recommend you to deploy nationwide VAR carrying Software Development Factory department.  As we already mentioned above Great Plains technology is not just Sanscript.  It is in tables, processes and accounting background

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