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Microsoft Great Plains: Dexterity vs. eConnect – FAQ
Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains, former Great Plains Software Dynamics/eEnterprise was originally written in IDE and programming language – Great Plains Dexterity. Currently Microsoft is on the way of transforming its ERP applications: Great Plains, Navision, Solomon, Axapta and MS CRM to be better integrated and fit into the future of its .Net platform. As a result we see new development tools: eConnect, Extender, etc. These tools should probably succeed Dexterity in the long run. From time to time we see complications on this way – for example on recent MBS worldwide conference – Dexterity Source code partner program, closed several years ago for new partner, was tentatively promised to be reopened. In this small article we would like to answer on the typical questions we are getting from IT strategists and lead developers.
• eConnect Overview. This SDK tool, which addresses existing and creates new Great Plains objects: Master Records (Customer, Vendor, Employee, Account, etc) and work documents: Sales Order, Invoice, Purchase Order, GL transaction to name a few. This is excellent tool and is very popular among web developers – it was originally created for eCommerce programmers who wanted to deploy Great Plains as back office/ERP/Accounting.
• eConnect Limitations. First of all – we saw numerous clients, who were disappointed in the fact that eConnect can not automate posting and SOP Orders transfer to Invoices. You should understand the rules of ERP system – first you create so-called work documents: quote, order, invoice and then you post it – documents should be approved for posting and this should be done through standard ERP fat client interface, not eConnect or other standard integration tools. Second important limitation – if you have dexterity customization – eConnect can not address custom logic – it works with standard Great Plains objects only. We understand that this is difficult to foresee when you ask questions to your Microsoft Business Solutions VAR, and also that each ERP has specifics you need to know: say Oracle Financials world has its own must-know bells-and whistles – when you work with specific large ERP – you should invest a lot of time in analysis and decision making.
• Dexterity Overview. Dexterity itself is a shell/IDE/programming language written in C back in earlier 1990th. You probably remember old-days-believe that C will secure database and graphical platform independence, plus it will direct you to the way of computer platform independence. But the matter of fact is – Great Plains Dexterity dictates the rules of customization – each GP custom-logic table must be created in Dexterity to be viewed via GP standard interface,
• Dexterity Limitations. Of course – Dexterity is kind of legacy IDE and it was created in the days when nobody could predict internet and thin clients future. So – you can not use Dexterity in your web application, you have to stick to stored procedures or eConnect.
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