Developing for Dynamics GP

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

Installing the Support Debugging Tool for Microsoft Dynamics GP FAQ

Installing the Support Debugging Tool for Microsoft Dynamics GP FAQ

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David Meego - Click for blog homepageI have been asked a few times recently about installing the Support Debugging Tool for Microsoft Dynamics GP on a live system.  This post covers some of the Frequently Asked Questions about installing the tool. 


Q: What is the Support Debugging Tool? 

A: The Support Debugging Tool is a Dexterity built application which contains a collection of utilities and tools to make the task of supporting, developing and debugging Microsoft Dynamics GP easier and faster.  See the release posts for more information (links at the bottom of this page).


Q: Who created the Support Debugging Tool? 

A: The tool was created by David Musgrave from the Asia Pacific Microsoft Dynamics GP support team with the assistance of many members of the Microsoft Dynamics GP community (both internal to Microsoft and external) for ideas and testing.


Q: Who is the target audience for the Support Debugging Tool?

A: The Support Debugging Tool has features designed for use by Developers and Support Engineers of all levels as well as by Partner Consultants and Implementors, and System Administrators. 


Q: What versions of Microsoft Dynamics GP is the Support Debugging Tool available for?

A: The Support Debugging Tool is currently available for versions v8.0, v9.0, v10.0 and v11.0 (GP 2010). It will be made available for future versions when they are released. Development has ceased for v8.0, the final build for v8.0 is build 12. The final build for v9.0 is build 14.


Q: Does the Support Debugging Tool need registration or cost anything? 

A: The Support Debugging Tool requires no registration and is provided completely free of charge.


Q: Where can I download the Support Debugging Tool from? 

A:  You can search PartnerSource for it easily enough, but the links are also in the Downloads section of the Support Debugging Tool Portal page.


Q: Where are the installation instructions for the Support Debugging Tool?

A: Please see the Installation Notes section on the downloads pages (links above).


Q: I get a error message when trying to include new code, what is the cause?

A: If you get an Unable to find a table. error during the unchunking process, it is probably caused by the runtime engine not have write access to the application folder.  The most common cause for this on the new versions of Windows is User Access Control (UAC).  UAC will block write access to the C:\Program Files folder to prevent malacious software installing itself.  You will need to use the Run As Administrator option once, to allow the code to be included. The other alternative is to disable UAC, but this will cause the system to be less secure.


Q: I keep getting asked to include new code and Support Debugging Tool is not installing, what is the cause?

A: This issue can also be caused by the runtime engine not having write access to the application folder.  Please see the previous question and answer which discusses how to allow access.


Q: What support is offered for the Support Debugging Tool? 

A: Please see the Support Information section on the downloads pages (links above).


Q: Are there any pre-requisites for using the Support Debugging Tool?

A: For version 8.0 you will need the runtime engine 8.00m88 update. For version 9.0 you will need Service Pack 3 or later.  The links for these updates are provided on the downloads pages (links above). The updates are needed to fix an issue with the runtime engine that can cause instability when logging Dexterity scripts. This logging feature is used by the Support Debugging Tool.


Q: I am a customer, how can I obtain the Support Debugging Tool?

A: The Support Debugging tool is only available for download on PartnerSource Secure Link and so can only be downloaded by partners.  You need to ask your partner to provide the tool for you.


Q: Why can't customers download the Support Debugging Tool from CustomerSource?

A: The Support Debugging Tool has some Advanced Mode features which are extremely powerful and so a decision was made to restrict downloads to PartnerSource to ensure that partners are aware when their customers have the tool installed.


Q: What files do I need to install from the downloaded archive?

A: You need the Debugger.cnk for the application and the Debugger.pdf for the user guide manual (which can be opened using the F1 key).  These files should be copied to the Microsoft Dynamics GP application folder. The Debugger.txt and License.doc are not essential.


Q: Does the Support Debugging Tool need to be installed on all workstations?

A: No, the Support Debugging Tool can work on a single workstation only.  That said, if the tool is not installed you will not be able to use it when a situation arises that you need the tool.  Also features like ScreenShot, the Security Profiler and the colour coding of companies will not work if it is not installed. It is recommended to install it on all workstations.


Q: Does installing the Support Debugging Tool have any side effects?

A: No, the Support Debugging Tool is passive until it is either set up to perform actions automatically or until it is used interactively by a user. It can be installed and remain in waiting until it is needed.


Q: Does the Support Debugging Tool store anything in SQL Server tables?

A: The Support Debugging Tool does not create any tables on the SQL Server.  It does write to a few tables so it can add itself to the application's navigation and security systems. A couple of exceptions are that the colour coding for companies feature stores its colour settings in the SY_User_Object_Store (SY90000) DUOS table, and the Administrator defined settings for data file path and Advanced Mode setting are stored in the syUserDefaults (SY01402) table.


Q: Where does the Support Debugging Tool store its settings and data?

A: The Support Debugging Tool writes its settings to an xml file called debugger.xml.  The default location for this file is in the application folder (v8.0 & v9.0) or the application\Data folder (v10.0 or later).  The settings stored in this file will only be available to instances of the application using this application folder. Also some settings such as window positions are stored in the Dex.ini configuration file.


Q: Can I set up the Support Debugging Tool to use the same debugger.xml file for all workstations?

A: Yes, in fact this is the recommended configuration as it allows settings to be shared across the entire system.

Using the Dex.ini Configuration window (build 12 and later), you can specify the path for the debugger.xml and other log files for the entire system.  This will automatically update each workstation on login to use the Administrator specified setting.

Also, using the workstation you have settings you want to be shared, use the Dex.ini Settings window (Tools >> Support Debugging Tool >> Options >> Dex.ini Settings >> Debug Tab) to change the Pathname location for Debugger Setup files, exports and logs: to a specified folder in a shared location available to all workstations.  If there is no debugger.xml file at the target location, the current workstation's settings will be copied across.  Repeat this change on all other workstations.

Note: You can also manually edit the MBS_Debug_Path Dex.ini setting.


Q: Where can I find the Support Debugging Tool User Guide documentation?

A: The User Guide is contained in the downloaded archive. It is the Debugger.pdf file.  As long as it is installed in the application folder along with the Debugger.cnk file, it can be automatically opened by pressing F1 while any of the Support Debugging Tool windows are active.


Q: What is the best method to set up the Recommended Configuration for the Support Debugging Tool?

A: Here are some instructions for setting up the Support Debugging Tool:

  1. Download the Support Debugging Tool using the link for your version in the Downloads section of the Support Debugging Tool Portal page.
     
  2. Set up the Recommended Configuration as described in the beginning of the Support Debugging Tool User Guide Manual (Debugger.pdf). Summarized steps are shown below, review the User Guide for the complete steps:
     
    1. Install the Support Debugging Tool on one workstation on your system by copying the files in the archive to the Microsoft Dynamics GP application folder. You must at least copy the Debugger.cnk and Debugger.pdf files. Use Run as Administrator to launch Dynamics GP and include the new code.
       
    2. Login as 'sa' or a user with similar permissions. For v10.0 or later grant all user access to the MBS DEBUGGER USER security role.
       
    3. Open the Support Debugging Tool from the Tools menu and select Options >> Dex.ini Settings.
       
    4. In the Support Debugging Tools Options section, select Enable Debugger Advanced Mode Features and for the Pathname location for Debugger Setup files, use a Specified location to point to a folder on a network shared location. Usually a folder in the same share as where OLE note attachments are stored (this can be a Drive mapped or an UNC path). Click OK.
       
    5. From the Support Debugging Tool main window, select Options >> Dex.ini Configuration.
       
    6. In the bottom section of the window, change the Administrator Controlled settings to Path Setting set by Administrator during login process and Advanced Mode turned on by Administrator during login process. Click OK.
       
  3. Install the Support Debugging Tool on the rest of the workstations in your system, you can use automatic updates or methods such as those described in the Automating Distribution of Customizations post. On next login, the workstations will inherit the Administrator Controlled settings for Path Setting and Advanced Mode.


Q: What other training materials for the Support Debugging Tool are available?

A:There are links to Conference Materials and Conference Videos on the Support Debugging Tool Portal page.


Q: I have installed the Support Debugging Tool, do I need to be concerned about users accessing features of the tool?

A: The Support Debugging Tool features are protected by the application level security system. The tool automatically creates Security Tasks and Security Roles for v10.00 and later.  For any feature that allows access to read or write data or a method of scripting, the windows are protected by the user requiring elevated SQL privileges, knowing the system password (if used) as well as the application level security. These are classified as Advanced Mode features.


Q: Why does the Support Debugging Tool have Standard and Advanced Mode features? 

A: Any features which have the ability to read or write directly to the application's data or require SQL or Dexterity scripting are classified as Advanced Mode features and will not be available to the normal users.  All the informational or logging features are part of Standard Mode and can be used by all users. To use an Advanced Mode feature a user must have SQL Server System Administrator privileges or be a DBO for both the System DYNAMICS database AND the current company database.


Q: What does turning on Advanced Mode really do?

A: Turning on Advanced Mode just allows the Advanced Mode features to be shown on the menus.  Access to Advanced Mode features is controlled by application security, system password and SQL Server permissions.


Q:  I want to use an Advanced Mode feature, but it does not appear on the Options menu. What is wrong?

A: To use an Advanced Mode feature use the Dex.ini Settings window (Tools >> Support Debugging Tool >> Options >> Dex.ini Settings >> Debug Tab) to check Enable Debugger Advanced Mode Features. If the features are still not available, it could be because the user does not have security access to the features.


Q: How do I grant security access to the various features?

A: For v8.0 & v9.0 access will be granted by default unless Standard Security or Advanced Security is used to deny access.  For v10.0 and later access can be granted to standard mode features using the MBS DEBUGGER USER Security Role and to Advanced Mode features using the MBS DEBUGGER ADMIN Security Role.


Q: I have security access to the Advanced Mode features, but are being asked for a password. What now?

A: The application's System Password (if being used) is required before any Advanced Mode feature can be used. This is the same password as required for accessing many system level windows and is set using Tools >> Setup >> System >> System Password.


Q: I have access to Advanced Mode feature and know the System Password, but it still denies access. What now?

A: To use an Advanced Mode feature you might all need access to other windows within the application. For example: If you are denied access to the Customization Status window, you will not be able to access the Dictionary Control window as the functionality offered is similar.  Also, to use an Advanced Mode feature a user must have SQL Server System Administrator privileges or be a DBO for both the System DYNAMICS database AND the current company database.


Q: I enabled Advanced Mode on one workstation, why isn't available on all workstations?

A: Advanced Mode is enabled on a workstation by workstation basis as the setting is stored in the Dex.ini. You can enable it and disable it as needed as long as your user has the appropriate SQL permissions.


Q: If I have set up an Advanced Mode feature, does Advanced Mode need to be enabled to use it?

A: No, Advanced Mode just shows and hides the menu options.  Options like Triggers and features set up in the Administrator Settings window will be active regardless of whether Advanced Mode is enabled on the current workstation.


Q: I have enabled the colour coding of companies. Why does it only work for the one workstation?

A: You are not using a shared debugger.xml setting file as described above. Or the Support Debugging Tool has not been installed on that workstation.


Q: I have created Trigger IDs, Script ID, or other settings on one workstation. Why are they not available on other workstations?

A: You are not using a shared debugger.xml setting file as described above.


Q: I have configured the Email settings on one workstation. Why don't they work on other workstations?

A: You are not using a shared debugger.xml setting file as described above.


Q: How can I un-install the Support Debugging Tool?

A: You don't... It is such a useful tool, it should be left installed on all workstations.


Q: How can I un-install the Support Debugging Tool... really?

A: It is recommended that the Support Debugging Tool be left installed.  Then it will be available to assist with logging, screenshots or the many other facilities it offers.

  1. If you really want to un-install, go to Tools >> Support Debugging Tool >> Options >> About Support Debugging Tool.

  2. Click on the Un-install button and follow the on-screen instructions, including exiting the application.

  3. You may then remove the following files from the application folder (if they exist):
     
    DEBUGGER.DIC
    Debugger.pdf
    Debugger.txt
    DEBU_FRM.DIC
    DEBU_RPT.DIC
    DEBUGGER.VBA

  4. If you want to delete the settings and log files created, you will find them in the application folder (v8.00 or v9.00) or the application\data folder (v10.00 or later), or if using a specified shared location, in that folder. The * wildcard characters will have user ID, company ID, date and time stamp values. Note that some files might not exist.
     
    Debugger.xml
    Debugger_*_*.log
    DEXSQL_*_*.LOG
    Profile_*_*_*_*.txt
    Script_*_*_*_*.log
    Record_*_*_*_*.xml
    Table_*_*_*_*.xml
    Debugger Export.xml
    Debugger Settings *.dbg.xml
    DebugRW.txt 

  5. You will need to repeat the steps for all workstations you wish to un-install the tool from. 

 

For more information on the Support Debugging Tool including the release announcement posts, please go to the Support Debugging Tool Portal page:

Support Debugging Tool Portal 

I think that should cover it for now.  I will add to this FAQ post if more installation questions arise.

David

11-Aug-2009: Added links to release blog posts.

09-Sep-2009: Updated with link to training video and information on user guide.

22-Sep-2009: Updated to include information on how User Access Control (UAC) can prevent installation.

05-Feb-2010: Updated with additional questions about access to Support Debugging Tool features.

04-Mar-2010: Added link for the Support Debugging Tool Portal page.

21-Jun-2011: Update links to point to the Support Debugging Tool Portal page and added Recommended Configuration instructions.

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