Thursday, October 31, 2013

SmartList Builder: Displaying Negative Amounts based on Document Type

Here's a nugget I picked up at GPUG Summit 2013 Tampa by attending the BDA06 Going Deep with SmartList Builder (Complete survey) session hosted by Nicole Albertson from eOne Business Solutions.

Traditionally, whenever I needed to get, say, return document amounts or credit document amounts in general to show as negative in a SmartList, I would recur to the outdated method of setting up a calculated field based on a T-SQL CASE statement to take the document amount and multiply it by negative 1 (-1). The calculation looked something like this, in the case of a Return document in a Sales Transactions smart list:

Calculated Field for a Negative Value based on Document Type

This method has been used for several years now, but not without its flaws:

1. If you have a large data set, performance can be negatively impacted. Remember, the more calculations, the more pass through SQL that needs to be executed by SmartList Builder. This method in particular, seems fairly complex for a simple arithmetic operation.

2. In retrospect, this method is good if you have a fairly decent understanding of T-SQL, which puts you in the category of a power user or at least an entry level T-SQL developer. But what if you are just the average end-user? - no pun intended.

Simply put, there's got to be a better way, right?

As it turns out I can simply click on the Document Amount field, then click on the Field Options expansion button to open the Set Field Options window.

Set Field Options window

Once in the Set Field Options window, you just need to click on the Negative Values tab. You will then mark the Display as Negative Value based on Field check mark and choose the table and field that you will use as basis to flip the sign - in the case of a Sales Transaction, that would be the SOP Type field.

Negative Values tab on Set Field Options window

SmartList Builder is "smart" enough to determine the possible values for the field in question - in fact, Yes/No and List Valued fields are usually supported.

Once again, in the case of the SOP Type list valued field, you would select the Return document type as the option to display the document amount as negative.

How handy is this? And the best of all, it required zero code.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Web Client Wednesday - User Interface Differences

How I get dragged into these things is beyond me, but MVP Mark Polino has convinced me that we need to make sure we dedicate a post every Wednesday to the Web Client and frankly, it did not take an arm twist to get me to bite.

Take a look at Mark's first post where he details how the installation Repair feature saves you from a full re-installation or redeployment.

To kick off this series, I will talk about something I was asked about during my web client training session at GPUG Summit 2013 Tampa: what are the main differences between the desktop and web client user interfaces? This topics has been covered in bits and pieces here and there, but I will try to round them out all in a single post.

At a general level, the first notable change is the replacement of the traditional menu navigation available in the desktop client for the use of navigation bars and lists. But then again, Microsoft introduced navigation lists since version 9.0, so by now you should be a pro using this application feature.


Desktop Client - Login

Web Client - Login
The first thing to note is, the desktop client does allow you to remember the user and password. Not so under the web client.


Desktop Client Menus

Web Client Menus
The desktop client will continue to display the traditional menu bar as a navigation option. The web client does not display the menu bar and replaces this feature for the navigation lists. The web client incorporates a Sign Out hyperlink to gracefully exit the application. Closing the web page is not recommended as it will strand a user within the system. However, if you close the web page by accident, you can always connect to the same session.

In both cases, the desktop and the web clients allow you to customize the page.

Home Navigation Bar

Desktop Client - Home
Web Client - Home

The Home navigation bar changes from the desktop client to the web client. The desktop client features the User Preferences window and the Shortcuts, Report Shortcuts, Startup, and User Classes folders, which are not available under web client. If you are currently using shortcuts under the desktop client, it is recommended you add these as Quick Links on your home page.

User Preferences

Desktop client - User Preferences

Web Client - User Preferences

The traditional user preferences for required fields are displayed on the desktop client - bold, red, italic, etc. - but not so on the web client. I suspect this is something the Microsoft Dynamics GP development team will work on, but as of SP2 this feature was not present on the web client. To this effect, if you are using the Support Debugging Tool, company color coding is also not available under the web client.

Status Bar

Desktop Client - Status bar

Web Client - Status bar
The web client status bar incorporates the status of the connection, access to the online help, and status of the Silverlight trust to the local resources (printers, folders, etc.) when the certificates are not present on the local computer's certificate store; in addition to the system date, company, and user information displayed traditionally under the desktop client.

Window Navigation

Desktop Client - Window Navigation

Web Client - Window Navigation
Perhaps, one of the areas where changes will be rather apparent is at the individual window navigation. The web client implements a ribbon, which displays and replaces a number of traditional elements common to the desktop client. For example, on the SOP Entry window, the buttons at the bottom of the window are implemented under a Go To drop-down button on the ribbon. Since menus are not available in Web Client, these desktop only options become a part of the window ribbon in web client. Other elements such as windows displayed by expansion buttons and other form windows become navigational tabs under the web client.

However, the all too familiar browse buttons remain in place at the bottom of both the desktop client and the web client windows.

SmartLists Access

Desktop Client - Smartlist Access                                                          Web Client - Smartlist Access
Since the traditional menu options are not available under the web client, SmartLists must be accessed under the corresponding SmartList Favorites for each navigation bar option. For example, all SmartLists under the sales series, must be accessed from the Sales navigation bar by choosing the SmartList Favorites option for that series. Here's where naming your SmartLists accordingly becomes really handy once they are listed in the list.

Now, I know these may not be all the differences at hand between the two user interfaces, but if I missed any, please feel free to add your comments to this article.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Monday, October 28, 2013

GPUG Summit 2013 Tampa Wrap Up

I just got back from GPUG Summit 2013 in Tampa and I have to say it was a very exciting week. With a 4-hour training and 3 sessions over 3 days, reality is time is always of the essence at a conference like this one. If you went to any of my sessions, please fill out the survey as this is how I get invited to these events - seriously!

ITP02: Fun with Microsoft Dynamics GP Administration Tools
Wednesday October 23, 2013 2:00pm - 3:00pm
CPE Eligible
Complete survey

STR04: Web Client Deployment for IT Directors
Thursday October 24, 2013 1:15pm - 2:15pm
CPE Eligible
Complete survey

ITP07: Administering SQL for Microsoft Dynamics GP Administrators
Friday October 25, 2013 9:45am - 10:45am
CPE Eligible
Complete survey

Nonetheless, I got a chance to attend a few sessions where I picked up a few nuggets (blog material for this week) and learned some more about topics I don't usually get involved with and, boy, it was all worth it! Some of the sessions I attended are as follow:

BIR03: Unlock the Magic of Excel Refreshable Reports
Presenter: MVP Mark Polino
Wednesday October 23, 2013 10:00am - 11:00am
CPE Eligible
Complete survey

PSH05R: Making Microsoft Dynamics GP work Simpler and Easier
Presenter: Mark Rockwell @ Rockton Software.
Thursday October 24, 2013 9:30am - 10:30am
Not CPE Eligible
Complete survey

BDA06: Going Deep with SmartList Builder
Presenter: Nicole Alberson @ eOne Business Solutions.
Thursday October 24, 2013 4:00pm - 5:30pm
CPE Eligible
Complete survey

STR08: Business Portal is Alive and Kicking
Presenter: Tanya Henderson @ S2 Technologies.
Friday October 25, 2013 11:00am - 12:00pm
CPE Eligible
Complete survey

Thanks to Summit sponsors FastPath and Data Masons for hosting the Thursday morning MVP breakfast, attended by MVPs from all ERP and CRM products and a few GPUG All-Star guests - from left to right and front to back, John Lowther (GP), Belinda Allen (GP), Leslie Vail (GP), Mariano Gomez (GP), Zubin Gidwani (GP All-Star), Jon Rivers (Data Mason), Howard Swerdloff (GP All-Star), Gretchen Opferkew (CRM), Claus Lundstrøm (NAV), Per Mogensen (NAV), Mark Polino (GP), Brandon George (AX)

Congratulations to the GPUG Summit 2013 All-Stars, Beat Bucher (@GP_Beat) with Forensic Technologies in Canada, Terry Heley with Microsoft, and Michelle Kocher with Delta Medical Systems.

Michelle, Terry, and Beat joined the "Ask the All-Star" session featuring (from left to right) Zubin Gidwani, Richard Whaley, MVP John Lowther, Bob McAdam, and MVP Mark Polino.

It was also good to catch up with my friends at eOne Business Solutions, Abbey Cooper, Nicole Albertson, and Chris Dew - Martin Olsen behind the camera.

My thoughts in general are:

  • Mark Polino is an Excel diva - enough said!
  • 1 hour sessions are too short. Most presenters I spoke to had a lot more material they would have wanted to present, but time did not allow them to go deeper into the topics.
  • Summit is definitely an event all end-users must attend at least every couple years.
  • Drop the word "optional" from the pre-conference training sessions. When you make something "optional", people just don't show up. It was not uncommon to find classrooms with just 2 students and the instructor.
  • Can't beat the Tampa weather. Should plan to have more summits in this beautiful city.
  • More deep dives please! It should be all about the details for the end-user.
  • From a presenter's perspective, VPC images were messed up and some were not even ready. Not cool!

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Attending GPUG 2013 in Tampa? Don't miss my sessions

Well, it's yet another conference for me. This time around, I will be presenting at GPUG Summit 2013 in beautiful Tampa, Florida and I was hoping that, if you are attending, a) you can come to one or all of my sessions, and b) that you would absolutely stop by to say hello.

My sessions are as follow:

Fun with Microsoft Dynamics GP Administrative Tools
Wednesday, October 23 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm
This session will involve some Support Debugging Tool, but I also have a bit of an ace under the sleeve for attendees, so you won't want to miss this one.

Web Client Deployment for IT Directors
Thursday, October 24 • 1:15pm - 2:15pm
With the release of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client, IT administrators are at the cross-roads of continuing to support a traditional rich client environment and adopting the new Web Client interface. Come learn what it takes to deploy Web Client, upgrade your current rich client environment (whether you are on a Terminal Server or workstation-driven environment), and the challenges with this new deployment approach.

Administering SQL for Microsoft Dynamics GP
Friday, October 25 • 9:45am - 10:45am
Are you confident that you are managing your Microsoft SQL Server environment correctly? Increase your effectiveness as an IT administrator at your organization - we'll help you increase your self-reliance and skill set for monitoring and maintaining your SQL environment, and give you the tools and knowledge to help troubleshoot when the unexpected happens.

I also have a training class, Hands-On with the Support Debugging Tool, which will be running on Tuesday, October 22 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM where I will be teaching some really cool SDT features. The best part is, you get to play with the tool yourself.

More information on Summit 2013 pre-conference training here.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Microsoft Dexterity Training back by popular demand

(C) Microsoft Corporation

You asked for it and we are responding to your request. Given the success of our past Microsoft Dexterity training roadshow, we are launching a new round of training sessions for 2014. This time, we have expanded the number of training offers to cover advanced Dexterity topics, and for the first time, we are introducing Visual Studio Tools for Dexterity developers (and .NET developers too).

Want to attend, but don't want to leave your offices? We will come to you. (*)

You can find all about each class offered on our training page. For more information, contact Chuck Boyles at +1 (678) 993-6971.

(*) Some restrictions apply.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC