Great Plains Customization & Software Development

By: Andrew Karasev

Microsoft Dynamics GP ERP belongs to Microsoft Dynamics family of applications together with Axapta, Navision, Solomon, MS CRM.? Great Plains is open for modification and custom programming and you as software programmer, who has reasonable background in accounting and MRP business processes and logic should understand your options in customizing GP.? Do not expect GP modifying process to be very easy, and it also may lead you to the option of subcontracting the programming phase to professional GP Dexterity developer or technical consultant

1.?????? Tools.? In this small article we would like to give you highlights on the commonly used tools: Dexterity, eConnect and SQL stored procedures.? Each tool has advantages and disadvantages, so you should analyze them in the light of your customization project, let's briefly review the tools

2.?????? Great Plains Dexterity, currently referred as Microsoft Dexterity.? Dex is written in C programming language and it is the shell for GP architecture.? With Dex scripting language Sanscript GP was built initially in earlier 1990th.? Dexterity customization is typically distributed via so-called chunk files.? Chunk file integrates itself with GP user workstation software on the first GP launch.? Dexterity and Sanscript look as proprietary technologies, and MBS requires you to purchase Dexterity programming license in order to program Dexterity in-house.? These two facts may incline you to subcontract Dex programming to GP ISV partner

3.?????? eConnect.? This is rather integration programming tool for Great Plains, initially dedicated to eCommerce programmer to enable GP objects manipulation: customer, vendor, Sales Invoice, etc.? With current GP version 10.0 eConnect is strategic technology for such integration tools as GP Integration Manager, where some connectors are redeployed on eConnect technology.? eConnect programming could be done in-house - you need C# or VB .Net programming skills plus familiarity with SQL scripting and GP tables and objects structure

4.?????? SQL stored procedures and scripting in general. ?We recommend you first to consider eConnect as customization or integration tool, which already has encrypted SQL stored procedures to create, modify or delete GP objects.? Direct SQL scripts could be the alternative if the job itself is too small and simple and rescuing to eConnect programming is not feasible because of that.? However, please be aware that such SQL statements as update or insert might be dangerous and cause GP data inconsistency, as they just do change and do not validate GP business logic

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