Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Installing Visual Studio Tools for Microsoft Dynamics GP project templates for Visual Studio 2017

While in Johannesburg attending GPUG Amplify South Africa 2018, my friend of 1000 battles and fellow MVP David Musgrave and I sat down to prepare for our Day 1 sessions.

Mariano Gomez and David Musgrave at GPUG Amplify South Africa 2018
In particular, we were preparing for our Microsoft Dynamics GP 2018 Customizing the User Interface session, which featured updated material and sample code from the ones we had shown at previous sessions.

In a cursory review of his environment, we noticed that he did not have the Visual Studio Tools for Microsoft Dynamics GP templates installed. David noted that he was running Microsoft Visual Studio 2017 on his machine and that the GP 2018 templates did not support this version of Visual Studio.

In fact, SDK templates are provided for Visual Studio 2010 through Visual Studio 2015 as of the release of Dynamics GP 2018.

I quickly remembered that my good friend in the UK, Tim Wappat had created the extension manifest files for the VST project templates (based on the VS2015 templates) for Visual Studio 2017 and published them to online Visual Studio extensions library. The templates are available for both C# and VB.NET as originally intended by Microsoft.

Microsoft Dynamics GP Item and Project Templates for Visual Studio 2017
I want to thank Tim for saving our lives as we both needed the templates anyways for our presentation. You can download the extension for Visual Studio 2017 here. and read more about the subject in Tim's article.

Until next post,

Mariano Gomez, MVP

GPUG Amplify South Africa 2018 - Wrap Up

GPUG Amplify South Africa is been over for a bit over a week, yet there's still sense of a conference with a lot potential and room for growth. For some background, I helped organize the preceding event, reIgnite GP 2017 and was a part of the keynote speech delivered last year. In addition, I delivered 6 sessions around various Microsoft Dynamics GP topics, but primarily my focus was on development sessions, having conducted a week of Microsoft Dexterity training prior to the kickoff. This year, I had to watch from the sidelines how this new event was being constructed and organized by the GP User Group (GPUG) organization.

So here’s my take on what went really well and what needs improvement.

1. Having the support of the GPUG, brought legitimacy to the event as a whole. I would like to think local users and partners saw the value in separating this event from its original organizer, Braintree, as a way to bring the South African Dynamics GP user community closer. If you are a local partner and you are still stuck with the idea that another partner is going to steal your client, then you do deserve to have your client go elsewhere. This event is for users and by users and should allow the community as a whole to benefit from knowledge brought by all presenters.

2.  The organizational aspects of the conference were on point. Everything from the venue, presenters, registration process, welcome reception, conference rooms, food and beverage, and, of course, the always smiling Katie and Angie from Dynamic Communities made this event a treat to attend. There wasn’t one moment during the event where attendees couldn’t find someone from the event organization team to answer their questions or direct them throughout the facilities.

3. Microsoft South Africa did a phenomenal job in appointing Wessel Pieterse (LinkedIn) and Thavash Govender (LinkedIn) as representatives of the organization to the event. Wessel’s keynote presentation was very welcomed by the community as it focused on baby steps to embrace and move from on-premise to cloud and Thavash did a phenomenal job at presenting the new Microsoft SQL Server 2017 features along with other work being done by the data platform team. It's very important that Microsoft South Africa continue to support these user events fully.

Now, to the areas of improvement.

1. Although The Canvas Riverside business incubation hub venue was fantastic for the conference and provided the kind of space and ease of moving around required by an event of this type, I have to say it was far away from everything. This may have been a reason for some registered attendees not to show up on different days of the event. In addition, the facility lack proper connectivity speed, which could affect live presentations requiring access to the internet.

2. It is clear to me that the developer/functional two-track format did not work very well. This approach is best suited for a multi-day conference with hundreds, even thousands of attendees and sessions that could be repeated. Many attendees expressed having to choose between two sessions of interest within the same timeslot. I would suggest a dedicated developer pre-conference day, with no more than 4 sessions for that day, all of which could be deep dives. The following 2 days could be spent between partner showcases and functional tracks. Although, interest in topics like SQL Server, PowerApps and Flow were well attended and could serve as repeats for the functional days.

3. The level of complexity of the sessions need to increase. I suggest incorporating more Azure, Office 365, and PowerApps and Flow sessions for the near future and how Microsoft Dynamics GP leverages these technologies. Again, these were the sessions that were most attended and can be leveraged by end users and consultants alike. Functional tracks should also provide a lot more content than they did, although this could be blamed squarely on the limited time allotted to each session. Most sessions had a duration of 45 minutes, which leaves little to no time for diving into complex subjects.

However, don’t let the areas of improvement overshadow the value of this conference. There were many, many positive aspects I heard mentioned by other attendees. The simple fact of being able to interact with international speakers and Microsoft MVPs was worth it to many I spoke to. However, I would like to see more participation from the Dynamics GP African market in general, not just the South African community as there is a potential to round up hundreds more of attendees. Users in Nigeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and other countries in the vicinity have a great deal of Dynamics GP customers that could benefit from this effort, while making the overall community in the area stronger.

Here is a list of articles published in this series:

GPUG Amplify South Africa 2018 
GPUG Amplify South Africa 2018 - Getting here 
GPUG Amplify South Africa 2018 - Preconference Day 1
GPUG Amplify South Africa 2018 - Preconference Day 2 
GPUG Amplify South Africa 2018 - Weekend Edition
GPUG Amplify South Africa 2018 - Day 1 
GPUG Amplify South Africa 2018 - Day 2
GPUG Amplify South Africa 2018 - Post Conference

Here are articles published by fellow MVP David Musgrave:

#GPUGAmplifySA GPUG Amplify South Africa 2018 Conference – Part 1
#GPUGAmplifySA GPUG Amplify South Africa 2018 Conference – Part 2
#GPUGAmplifySA GPUG Amplify South Africa 2018 Conference – Wrap Up

Until next post,

Mariano Gomez, MVP