Dexterity in Great Plains
Microsoft Business Solutions – Great Plains has captured the US market with its integrated business applications for small and mid-size organizations. Its comprehensive accounting and business management capabilities provide businesses with tools to customize various modules of the Great Plains software. These tools have been proven to have contributed to business growth and tighter control over its processes.
Dexterity is the proprietary programming language that Great Plains was developed in, which gave rise to Great Plains Dexterity in the early 1990s. The primary goal at that time was to build a platform independent graphical accounting package – Great Plains Dynamics. Although Dexterity requires the user an extensive knowledge in software development (primarily in C/C++ or Pascal) and experience in scripting languages (VBScript, or Dexterity’s own script – SanScript), it allows access to all of Great Plains resources such as tables, reports and scripts, which can then be seamlessly integrated with the Great Plains interface. With this access, you can manipulate and define triggers such as opening a form or leaving a field. Moreover, it can be used to call up procedures and functions and create new applications without interfering with other customizations already in place. Dexterity can be installed using CD #2 that comes with the Great Plains 7.5 package.
The following are some pointers with Dexterity programming:
Native Dexterity Cursors: If you need your Dexterity programming code to be operable in any or all of the currently supported databases, you need to use Dexterity ranges and loops to manipulate the records.
SQL Stored Procedures: Most of Great Plains applications are using SQL Server. You can use Dexterity to create custom forms drawing in Great Plains then manipulate your triggers or buttons so that it runs an SQL stored procedure. This makes database access simpler.
COM Object Calls: Dexterity supports embedded technologies such as COM and VBA. COM objects are registered as libraries in Dexterity. COM Object calls Great Plains functions such as web services across the Internet.
Dexterity Forms: Dexterity can be used to create new or large applications. You can also use this as a new forms creator/editor with VBA business logic. However, using VBA/Modifier would require you to purchase it together with Customization Site Enabler from Microsoft.
An important point to remember is that Great Plains is an integration of multiple dictionaries (dynamics.dic, advsecur.dic, exp1493.dic, etc.). Using dictionary files protects Great Plains’ integrity. In customizing, you can use Dexterity in the “dynamics.dic” file. In the event that you need cross dictionary customization, consider using SQL stored procedures for pulling data and making changes in the other dictionaries.
Need more information?
For customization work and advice, please contact Andrew Karasev, Alba Spectrum Chief Technology Officer. His works include development of applications with the use of Dexterity, SQL, C# .NET, Crystal Reports and Microsoft CRM SDK.