Looks like Microsoft Great Plains becomes more and more popular, partly because of Microsoft muscles behind it. Now it is targeted to the whole spectrum of horizontal and vertical market clientele. Small companies use Small Business Manager (which is based on the same technology ? Great Plains Dexterity dictionary and runtime), Great Plains Standard on MSDE is for small to midsize clients, and then Great Plains serves the rest of the market up to big corporations.
If you are developer who is asked: how do we customize Great Plains with its native programming language ? Great Plains Dexterity ? read this and you will have the clues on where to look further.
The history of the Dexterity. Great Plains Dexterity ? this is proprietary programming language and technology, designed back to earlier 1990th with the goal to build platform independent graphical accounting package ? Great Plains Dynamics. Dexterity itself is written in C (following popular those days hope ? that C will provide platform independence). You can install Dexterity from Great Plains 7.5 CD #2. Obviously it requires a lot of learning / training, but it allows your custom piece be seamlessly integrated with Great Plains interface.
1. Native Dexterity Cursors. Dexterity was designed as platform independent programming language and so if you want your code to be operable on all currently supported databases ? you use Dexterity ranges and loops to manipulate the records
2. Great Plains Dexterity with SQL Stored Procs Nowadays, most of Great Plains installations are moved to SQL Server ? so you can use Dexterity for custom forms drawing only and make the buttons run SQL stored procedures.
3. COM Objects calls. Beginning with version 7.0 Dexterity supports COM objects ? you register them as libraries in Dexterity. Refer the manual. This technique allows you to call such nice things as web services across the internet.
4. Dexterity Forms ? if you like VBA and are comfortable to do all the business logic in VBA ? you can use Dexterity as new forms creator/editor. This is OK ? but you have to purchase VBA/Modifier and Customization Site Enabler from MBS.
Some restrictions. Great Plains is actually integration of multiple dictionaries: DYNAMICS.DIC, ADVSECUR.DIC, EXP1493.DIC, etc. In your Dexterity customization you can deal with one dictionary ? DYNAMICS.DIC. If you need cross dictionaries customization ? consider using SQL Stored Procs for crossing dictionary borders and pulling data/making changes in the other dictionary..
About The Author
Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer in Alba Spectrum Technologies ? USA nationwide Great Plains, Microsoft CRM customization company, based in Chicago, Texas, California, Florida, New York and having locations in multiple states and internationally (www.albaspectrum.com), he is Dexterity, SQL, C#.Net, Crystal Reports and Microsoft CRM SDK developer.