Microsoft Great Plains 10.0 Integration Options, Part Two

In the previous article “Microsoft Great Plains Integration Notes” we described standard integrating options and tools: GP Integration Manager, eConnect, SQL Stored Procedures and Dexterity. This is addition to the first article and here we will describe advanced scenarios: EDI (Electronic Document Interchange), combining Dexterity with eConnect to address multiple companies in GP user interface, GP integration with Java based applications.

1.EDI. It is often considered by software developers as something very complex, where UNIX world is interchanging vendor records, vendor invoices and purchase orders to replenish company inventory or fulfill the order. However if you look at EDI realization, you will often realize that it is simply fixed width text file or combination of fixed width text fields with encrypted numeric fields, where numeric fields you can process and convert into text with relatively simple character processing programming. If you came to the point where on the input side you have fixed width text fields, what you need to do now is to create SQL insert into script and send records into GP tables. The second option is to get formatted fields via select statement and call eConnect methods to send Vendor Invoice into GP for example. In order to parse fixed width text fields in SQL select statement you should read books online and get answer there.

2.Dexterity and eConnect. GP users like Dexterity customizations, as these customizations are seamlessly integrated into GP user interface and security realm. However GP user interface assumes that you as GP user is logged into specific GP company and do your work in this company: enter invoices, post batches, etc. When you are designing customization with eConnect and Dexterity there is simple opportunity to break through single company. Dexterity allows you to call com objects or dll libraries, in turn com object could be written in .Net C# or VB, where you use ADO.Net constructions to switch SQL Server databases, staying for GP companies. As eConnect interface call is stored procedure, this is simple for programmer to call stored procedure in any database he or she likes. Considering legacy technologies, such as VBA scripting with Dex sanscript codes in and Continuum techniques – extension to switch Great Plains Dynamics modules; switching GP companies was always really difficult to accomplish in your integration, so eConnect, Dexterity and DLL combination seems to be very promising.

3.GP and Java integrations. Reliable approach is to open eConnect interface via custom web services, which you can call from your EJB, J2EE, Java or Oracle application. Please note that GP is Microsoft realm and if you deploy non-Microsoft technologies such as DB2, PHP websites typically require technology integration testing.