At the end of December, Developing Microsoft Dynamics GP Business Applications, written by Leslie Vail and published by Packt Publishing was released.
I got a copy of the book in order to do a review and have decided to break the review down into multiple parts. The reason for this is that the book includes some practical examples which I have decided to do and then include the results of this in the review; after all if it is a book on developing how can you accurately review the book if you don’t use what you learn to build something?
The book is aimed at developers new to working with Microsoft Dynamics GP, so bear in mind that I am not a developer when reading my reviews. Quick synopsis of my background: I started my career as a trainee developer and moved through a variety of roles such as developer and support analyst before moving to my current position as consultant and project manager.
I oversee development teams working on additions or amendments to Microsoft Dynamics GP as well as personally undertaking some modifications using Report Writer or Modifier with VBA. So despite not being a developer, I am used to working with them and did, once upon a time, be one myself.
The first chapter of the book covers the Microsoft Dynamics GP Architecture from a high level perspective.
It covers the history of the GP interface from it’s origins with Great Plains Software, an overview of Dexterity and the development environment. There is a detailed explanation of the launch file (Dynamics.set), which included a couple of points of which I wasn’t aware, and the configuration/preferences file (Dex.ini).
The explanation of the Dex.ini file included the ExportOneLineBody switch which I didn’t know about, but for which I have an immediate use.
Leslie then goes on to explain about the structure of the tables in the SQL Database which always strikes newcomers as arcane and overly complex. Leslie explains this well with plenty of detail on both the structure, including both the physical and technical names, and how transactions move between tables as their state changes.
Chapter 1 wraps up with a detailed explanation of the UI covering how forms are constructed, how the scrolling windows work and the common buttons used on forms, scrolling windows and individual buttons.
The second chapter of the book focuses on the fundamentals of integrating applications with Microsoft Dynamics GP.