Microsoft Dynamics GP Customization – Skill vs. Expand, plus eConnect

Microsoft Great Plains is currently undergoing significant technological redesign. To remind you of history – Great Plains Dexterity was architected in the early 1990s as an IDE and shell, written in C programming language to turn development tools and scripting – Sanscript languages. Later Microsoft bought Great Plains Software on the outskirts of the 21st century. Around this time, we see two new products: eXtender, written by Australian company eOne and eConnect – instrument, originally designed for web eCommerce developers. The question of choosing the appropriate tool for your specific GP software development typically requires further research, so in this small article we will try to orient you, assuming that you are a programmer and consultant who has some exposure to accounting and business ERP system architecture

or dexterity. The idea was light back in the early 1990s to give Great Plains Dynamics a certain level of DB and computer platform independence and rapid emergency switching. C programming languages ​​were introduced for most of the old-days platforms: Unix, IBM PC / Microsoft Windows, Solaris, AIX, later on Linux. As an expense of this flexibility, dexterity had to use cursor-driven data access / modification engine to be compared to aggregated SQL SELEC and UPDATE statements. Aggregated statements provide a more advanced performance

o Extend. Sometimes you think of fun questions in software development. Let’s say we provide a shell over Dex itself and train the end user or developer to prototype new custom logic in forms, tables, views and even provide the mechanism to include dex sanscript scriptlets. Would it be advantageous to use raw dexterity to build all this from scratch. The answer is more likely – yes, this is good and installing secondary shell (extender) is much easier and more reliable, but you have to understand the disadvantages. Expand, as dex construction should probably share the future fate of dex technology. And secondly – if you are producing custom add-ons for Dynamics GP, you will probably need the first tool. But if you are an end customer and just need a job – Extend is a good option

or eConnect. This tool resolves Dex restriction as a proprietary scripting language and opens pool objects for Microsoft Visual Studio developers. Plus eConnect has object-oriented approach, which makes it much easier to program that it is “modern programmer” – it eliminates the need to perform a lot of subsequent QA testing, assuming that you, as software codes, follow precisely object-oriented rules. You can use your chosen language or philosophy: C # (former Java developers) or VB.Net – former VB programmers as well as the full range of X.Net languages

o Combination of dexterity and eConnect. In our opinion, this is the most recommended way to change GP in the following 5-10 years. Dexterity forms integrate you into Microsoft Dynamics GP “fat” client security area and can be opened intuitively from GP workstation. Then, you transfer business logic to Visual Studio developed custom logic, called eConnect via XML Web Service Interface

o Reporting. Here we see three tools: MS SQL Server Reporting Services, GP Report Writer (older dex tool) and Crystal Reports. You should probably consider MS trends here in the first place – SRS (almost abandoning previous Crystal Reports orientation). The good news is that SRS is intuitively understood by the former Crystal Reports designer so don’t worry, install SRS and port your reports to a new platform. As for ReportWriter, if you have custom SOP invoice or field services forms, you should probably continue to upgrade these custom reports in ReportWriter. Report Writer is integrated with GP workstation and does not require additional modules to perform report call jobs

o Dexterity source programming. MBS has source code programming partners who in turn have dexterity programmers familiar with low-level sanscript source code (contained in DYNAMICS.DIC with code in, regular distribution strips sanscript code from this dictionary)