Review of Developing Microsoft Dynamics GP Business Applications – Part 5

Microsoft Dynamics GPI started reviewing Leslie Vail’s book, Developing Microsoft Dynamics GP Business Applications, which was published at the end of December by Packt Publishing, a few weeks ago. To do this review I decided to take a read through and complete all the examples she gives on developing an application as I’ve only had very limited experience with Dexterity;

Developing Microsoft Dynamics GP Business Applications by Leslie Vail

Today, it is time for part 5 of my review where I look at Chapter 6: Deploying a Dexterity Solution where Leslie covers the following key topics:

  • System requirements
  • Versions and builds
  • Table creation routines
  • Completing the application
  • Creating the chunk file
  • Testing in a multi-dictionary environment
  • Distributing the completed application

This chapter has a fair bit of explanatory text covering each of the key topics.

The system requirements section covers the basics of what is needed to run GP on a client as well as the feature-specific requirements to, for example, create Word Documents, email from GP and so on. This is a fairly clear list of the features and the software which needs to be on the client machines to run them.

The versions and builds section covers the version numbering and how Microsoft Dynamics GP handles these in making sure clients have the correct version and making sure old versions cannot be installed over the top of newer ones.

The table creation routines section discusses the three ways the required tables and stored procedures can be created:

  1. SQL Maintenance Window – This is the nice and simple route, but Leslie does point out that nice and simple does come with some fairly large risks as the SQL Maintenance window includes options such as DROP TABLE which could cause huge problems if used.
  2. Building a utilities window – This method avoids the risks of the first method and is accompanied with a practical example which was very clear in what to do to create the window. The required sanScript can be downloaded from the Packt Pub website. However, after I downloaded the sanScript I had to spend five minutes going through and inserting spaces in the if statements and after the error keywords before the script would compile and save.
  3. Automatically creating the tables upon launch. There is some code in te book which can be used to launch the Create_Tables procedure which was created in while building the utilities window but which has the same problems with spaces missing.

After covering the creation of the tables and stored procedures needed, Leslie moves onto completing the application with what seems a fairly thorough checklist of the key elements which need to be completed before an application can have it’s build finalised.

The final section of the chapter, and the part with which I have previous experience, is building the chunk file. This is the compiled code which is deployed to the client’s installation folder and included when the client is started to add the new functionality to Microsoft Dynamics GP.

Leslie covers all of the steps needed to build the chunk file using Dexterity Utilities;

  1. Extracting resources – This is a step which is required for all customisations including the ones created when following the steps in the book.
  2. Transfer dictionary module – This is not a step which is done when following the example in the book as we didn’t create any alternative forms or reports; we only created new forms.
  3. Building the chunk file

The steps for building the chunk file are very easy to follow and are the same as the ones I have followed previously. The difference between my previous compiling of chunk files and the one I did following Leslie’s instructions is that I now understand the reasons for why certain things are set as they are.

Leslie wraps up the chapter with a look at the distribution methods for chunk files which are to either send the chunk file out as is or to build a Windows Installer program; Leslie provides a link to a free download to build a Windows Installer (I’m going to take a look at this for other purposes).

This chapter was a nice thorough look at finalising and building a Dexterity chunk file for release.

The next chapter of the book moves away from Dexterity and onto Modifier with VBA which is an end-user tool which does not need a developer and is a tool with which I have had some recent experience.

You can purchase Leslie’s book either direct from Packt Publishing or via Amazon:

Amazon UK Amazon US

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