Thursday, September 25, 2008

First Look at Menus for Visual Studio Tools

My friend David Musgrave has been busy lately. He has brought to us great products like Named Printers, Advanced Security, SnapShot, and Support Debugging Tool. He has done it again with the release of Menus for Visual Studio Tools (MVST).

For those of you not familiar with MVST, it's a Dexterity-based product that exposes an API to Visual Studio developers for them to add their own menu items to the Microsoft Dynamics GP interface, providing even more transparent integrating products and customizations. If you may recall, there was no (out of the box) way to go about this with standard Visual Studio Tools functionality, which forced VS developers to create their own Dexterity customization to add their own menus. Of course, every developer has a different approach to writing code and coming up with an integrating solution -- IF they happen to know Dexterity, which wasn't always the case.

As a participant in the of the beta testing phase I played with some of the tool's features and suggested a few changes to the documentation based on my experiences. David also incorporated tons of error handling routines and made it a virtually unbreakable product. Some of the feature I most enjoy are:

1) The relative ease of incorporation into already existing projects and easy call of APIs. The product registration in VS is straight forward and the naming convention is very logical.

2) The ability to add menus items to any existing Dynamics GP menu with the option to display conditional meny items, toggling them on or off according to application events.

3) The abundance in error handling and clearness of the errors.

David has released a stub on his blog with more information on the tool. The product is currently compatible with version 10.0 of Microsoft Dynamics GP and can be downloaded via CustomerSource and PartnerSource at:

CustomerSource - Menus for Visual Studio Tools for Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0

PartnerSource - Menus for Visual Studio Tools for Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0

FINAL NOTE: I was able to compile my code with Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008, however, you will need the latest VST service pack to compile on VS2008.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MIS, MVP, MCP, PMP
Maximum Global Business, LLC
http://www.maximumglobalbusiness.com/

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