Microsoft Dynamics GP Modifications Dexterity, SDK, VBA

By: Andrew Karasev
  • Great Plains Dexterity.  This tool was designed as the core of Great Plains Dynamics.  In its turn, Dex was created as C-Shell (application written in C programming language).  Main business logic dictionary is DYNAMICS.DIC, ISV had options to create their own dictionaries and obtain product ID from Great Plains Software.  Around 2003-2004, when Microsoft Business Solutions had Project Green plan, there were some opinions that Dexterity will be replaced by direct .Net C# code, even Dex source code partner program was closed for new GP partners.  However later on in the Summer of 2005, source code program was resumed, which indicates that Dexterity termination was either postponed or canceled.  In dex theoretically you have unlimited development instruments, however, due to the fact of being legacy, it is not object oriented language, rather procedural
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP SDK.  This tool virtually opens the door to MS Visual Studio developer to write add-ons to GP, using .Net C# (or VB.Net).  Screens are seamlessly integrated into Microsoft Dynamics GP Dexterity-written client application and you can utilize the same color schema and icons collection to imitate GP application windows.  You can ask – maybe this is the replacement to Dexterity.  We also were very impressed by the tool, when watching initial demo.  However, later in became clear, that (and we agree with MS realization) there were no other way, but expose old-good days Dex forms and objects via .Net libraries, so behind the scenes you see old dex shell.  Real alternative to Dexterity is the possible advancs in eConnect, because eConnect doesn’t touch dex shell, but instead works with SQL database side via the set of stored procedures.
  • VBA/Modifier.  This is when you use Modifier to change Microsoft Dynamics GP forms: take off some fields, add buttons and attach VBA scripts to new buttons.  VBA scripting were also popular in Ms Excel, MS Access and other MS tools, exposed as OLE server to developer.  Probably good idea to consider other options, prior to deploying heavy VBA modification, due to the risk of future upgrade and support termination.

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