Microsoft Dynamics GP has large number of installations and successfully implemented for various industries: wholesale, retail, transportation & logistics, pharmaceutical, project organization, non-profit, government and others. GP has vertical and horizontal solutions, which you can purchase in the form of modules. In some cases you business processes are so unique or customization scope is small that it is feasible to develop add-on to GP standard ERP logic from scratch. In this small article we would like to highlight tools and scenarios:
1. GP Dex. This is the foundation of GP technology. Microsoft Dexterity has its own programming language Sanscript, plus integrated development environment, database indexing and data reading and writing mechanism. Most of traditional add-ons or also referred as GP satellite products are written in Great Plains Dexterity and are distributed in the form of Dex chunk, which is automatically integrated to GP user workstation software at the first launch of your Dynamics GP. If you review Dynamics.set file – you will see all Dex add-ons, currently pre-integrated in your installation.
2. Developing in Dexterity. If you are convinced programmer who is ready to learn new programming language, you can install Dexterity from CD#2 (please check licensing requirement with your GP VAR). We also recommend you to consider contracting Dex development project to Dexterity ISV partner, as Dex is pretty proprietary and in some cases it is not feasible to come through Dex training for your in-house IT professionals.
3. Alternatives to Dexterity. When Microsoft acquired Great Plains Software – Great Plains Dynamics was reoriented to become dedicated to Microsoft technologies exclusively: Microsoft SQL Server, .Net, Sharepoint, SRS. The new tool, initially intended to eCommerce developer – eConnect (which is the set of encrypted SQL stored procedures) was emphasized as new development platform. eConnect opens GP objects realm to Microsoft Visual Studio C# and VB programmers. eConnect is especially good, when you are creating sort of integration, and it is a bit restricted when you are creating new forms and windows, which should be seamlessly integrated with GP user workstation. If all you need is simple data feeding routine, then instead of using eConnect, you can create simple SQL stored procedure or DTS package to do the job.