Developing for Dynamics GP

by David Musgrave (Perth, WA, Australia) and the Microsoft Dynamics GP Developer Support Team (Fargo, ND, USA)

Dex - How to get started with Dexterity

Dex - How to get started with Dexterity

  • Comments 20

David MeegoSomething I am often asked is how to get started with Dexterity.  As Dexterity is not really known outside of the Microsoft Dynamics GP world, there are not a large number of books available on the subject, like there are for Visual Basic or Visual C#.

Note: if you are still unsure about which tool or tools is best for you, please see the Choosing a Development Tool post.

So what is the best place to get started.  Below are the steps I suggest.

NOTE: All the articles and links I refer to can be found on the Dexterity Articles & Links page of this blog.

  1. Install Dexterity
    Either from the \Tools\Dex\Setup folder of CD 2 of the Microsoft Dynamics GP install CDs or downloaded from CustomerSource (link at bottom of this page). Follow the steps in KB 949622 (link at top of this page) to set up the development environment.

  2. Read the Manuals
    Dexterity installs manuals in a Manuals folder.  They can also be accessed from the Help menu inside Dexterity. I suggest that you work through the Quick Start manual, using the Programmer's Guide Volumes 1 & 2 for reference.  You should also browse through the sanScript Reference and the Function Library Reference to get familiar with what commands and functions are available. The Integration Guide explains how to write integrating applications and how to re-use all the navigation and security facilities inside Microsoft Dynamics GP.

  3. Do the Training
    The Dexterity Fundamentals training (now called Dexterity I) is an excellent start to getting the foundations needed for all Dexterity developers.  The materials can be downloaded from CustomerSource (link at bottom of this page).  While this training can be completed as self study, nothing beats getting trained by an instructor in the classroom.  Every now and then Microsoft offers training courses for Dexterity (I trained one in Melbourne, Australia in late 2007). I will update the blog when I hear of courses. 

    Your other choice for classroom training in the USA is to attend one of Leslie Vail's classes run through Integrated Business Group Training Courses. Leslie runs the Dexterity I and less known Dexterity II classes. See the bottom of this article for links to training courses.
     
    Note: The training materials are for version 9.0. Don't worry, this is the latest version and everything is still valid for later versions of Microsoft Dynamics GP and Dexterity.

  4. Check out the Samples
    There are a number of samples provided with Dexterity and also available for download from CustomerSource or the MSDN Dynamics GP Developer Center. The links are on the Dexterity Samples page of this blog. Look at and play with the samples as they will help you learn.

  5. Use the Help File
    Press F1.... The Dexterity help file is a brilliant resource for all things Dexterity.  Use it. 

  6. Read the articles 
    The Dexterity Articles & Links page on this blog has links to great Knowledge Base (KB) articles as well as conference materials on advanced techniques, such as cross dictionary and multi-dictionary development.

  7. Use the Newsgroups
    There is a list of links for Newsgroups on the left hand section of this blog.  The Microsoft Dynamics GP Developer newsgroup is an excellent resource.

  8. Use the Tool
    Get the hands on experience. The best way to learn is to actually get down and create some Dexterity windows and write some sanScript code. It is recommended that you start with a small integration or customisation project first. Learn to walk before you run.  Completely changing the behaviour of the SOP_Entry window is not recommended as your first project.

  9. Use the SDK (Software Development Kit)
    The SDK can be installed from the Tools folder of CD 2 of the Microsoft Dynamics GP install CDs or downloaded from CustomerSource or the MSDN Dynamics GP Developer Center (links on the Developer Articles & links page). The SDK contains vast amounts of information on the data model and transaction flows as well as documentation on procedures and functions that can be re-used.

Please add your comments on your experiences or advice you can give to new Dexterity developers.

David

27-Aug-2008: Integrated Business Group & Leslie Vail are offering Dexterity training in Orlando in October.  See here for more information Dexterity Training in Orlando (Oct 20th to 24th).

24-Apr-2009: Added link to Choosing a Development Tool post.

08-Feb-2012: Added note about training materials being version 9.0.

  • Posted for Mariano Gomez:

    David,

    This is a great step-by-step process for new Dexterity developers. However, I always try to revert back to basics: know thy CRUD operations! Every development language poses that challenge: how to create, read, update and delete records in a table. If you can identify these operations the rest will come easy. Look for my new blog article pretty soon on

    Understanding CRUD operations with Dexterity

    Of course, I also learned from the best: the former Great Plains Software International Team!!!

    MG.-

    Mariano Gomez, MVP

    Maximum Global Business, LLC

    http://www.maximumglobalbusiness.com

  • Part 1 of Mariano's posting can be found here

    http://dynamicsgpblogster.blogspot.com/2008/08/know-thy-common-table-operations-with.html

  • This is it. The opportunity to get trained in the Dexterity fundamentals by one of the best trainers

  • Hi

    Its good article for Dexterity Developer.

    Thanks

    http://www.interviewsworld.com/SC_7_22_ms-dynamics-gp-10.aspx

  • Hi,

    I've been doing battle with the Dynamics site but not getting anywhere in a hurry. It all seems to come back to CustomerSource but I can't work out how to get into it.

    Here's the problem. Way back I was a Dexterity developer using version 3 or so thru to 6.5 or so. I developed a range of Dynamics integrated products and some stand-alone.

    One of my old customers has a stand-alone still running using 6.00 and they've asked that I make some changes.

    So what I want to find out is how to get a current version of Dex (or even an older version) and what is required to run and licence the product these days. I can't seem to find anywhere in Microsoft.com where the simple issue of just buying the product is addressed.

    Any help you can offer would be appreciated

  • Hi Mark

    Please can you use the Email link at the top of the blog so I can get an email address for you.

    I am checking what we can do to help you. Normally, you would need to be a registered Partner or Customer to access PartnerSource or CustomerSource where the Dexterity downloads are.

    The current version of Dexterity is v10.00 to match Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0.  You might not want to use v10 as it changes the interface from MDI to SDI. This means that each window shows separately in the taskbar and no longer sit inside the application main window.

    David

  • Hi Mark

    You can still purchase Dexterity as a Customer.

    As a Partner, Dexterity is included in the Not For Resale Kit – so, if you signed up as a Partner, you will get an NFR copy of Dexterity.  The code is available on the Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0 CD #2, and it’s also available for download via PartnerSource.

    Dexterity is also available in the Subscriptions area of MSDN.

    I hope this helps.

    Please use the email link if you have any further questions.

    David

  • Just want to find out how to create standalone Application without using MSSQL as database in Dexterity v10.

    FYI - Since Btrieve & CTree is not being used.

    Please advise.

    Thanks

    LOW

  • Hi Low

    You will need to edit the Dex.ini to change the default database from SQL to Ctree.

    Comment out FileHandler using a semi colon and DatabaseType.

    ;FileHandler=SQL

    DatabaseType=Ctree

    As long as any tables you create are set as default database type they will work as ctree.

    Make sure you read the Dexterity Manual on Standalone applications (STNDALON.pdf).

    David

  • Please kindly advise how to create standalone Application using MSSQL as database in Dexterity v10.

    If there any procedure on that??? Please advise.

    Thanks

    KEN

  • Hi Ken

    Included with the documentation for Dexterity is a Standalone Application Guide (STNDALON.pdf) which explains much of what is needed.

    To change the default database to SQL is handled by a DEX.INI setting.

    Look for Database and comment it out with a semicolon (;) if it exists and make sure FileHandler is set to SQL:

    FileHandler=SQL

    Then the system will ask for login on the first access of a SQL table, or you can build your own login window and use the Login_ function library to login yourself (which is how Microsoft Dynamics GP works).

    Good Luck

    David

  • I am newbie .I want to develop standalone application using dexterity. I have the following queries

    1. How to create standalone application using c-tree datatbase.

    2. Can I use c-tree for bigger applications

    2. After creating the application how to create an .exe for the standalone application.

    Please advise sir.

    Thanks and Regards,

    Waseem.

  • Hi Waseem

    Information on creating a standalone application is available from the Stand-alone Application Guide (STNDALON.pdf) manual.

    To answer your questions:

    1) To get Dexterity into Ctree mode, comment out the Dex.ini setting for FileHandler and add DatabaseType... see below:

    ;FileHandler=SQL
    DatabaseType=Ctree

    2) Ctree can be used for up to about 10 users, but its reliability will be an issue if you are looking at a lot of users and heavy use.

    3) Look in the Redist.txt file for the components needed for a Standalone application.  You will not end up with a single exe file, but you can create a self extracting zip file for distribution.

    Hope this helps

    David

  • I am building a small application using built in ctree with dexterity I have a question.

    I didnt find anything like AutoIncrement while creating a table.

    Do I have to do this with the sanscript?

  • Hi Waseem

    Can I suggest that you ask this type of question on the newsgroups where others can answer and also where others can benefit.  There are links on the left hand side of this blog.

    You would need to create your own code for numbering your documents, for ctree or SQL.

    David

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