Visual Studio 2015 & Dynamics GP Addin Project Templates “install”

Lets face it, Visual Studio 2015 (VS2015) is here and it is awesome, thus drop what you are doing and start developing with it, right now! I’ve been enjoying the experience with all the new light bulb helpers etc. More than ever before, it feels like Visual Studio has my back. The other day I got around to getting the Dynamics GP project templates installed and blog it here for benefit of others.
 
My GP Dev hero and MVP, Mariano Gomez posted on his blog a how to do this for previous versions of VS, which worked a treat for me in the past, so time to apply the principle to the new version of visual studio, 2015. I found that I had to use a different command to get the templates to install after they were moved, so see below for the steps I performed.
 

Steps to follow for VS2015


This is my variation on Mariano’s work, please visit Mariano’s blog  and praise him there at this blog post:
 
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Thus for VS2015 follow those instructions, but for moving the templates, use the folder root:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\Common7\IDE
where he uses:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 12.0\Common7\IDE
Below are the C# templates moved to where they need to be (remember C# & VB.NET):
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Now to install those templates into Visual Studio (i.e. make them available)
Use an elevated visual studio command prompt, to run the command (Shift right click):
 
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Refer to this stack overflow comment and run the command shown, note this is a departure from Mariano’s post. Using the “devenv.exe /setup” simply didn’t work for me, however you may find different.
Command to use is:
devenv /installvstemplates
 
Change into the IDE directory as shown in the screen shot below, then run the command.
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Leave this command to execute, it took a 20 seconds on my fast machine. This refreshes the Visual Studio project template cache
 
Now opening VS2015 should show these templates under the new project option.

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Out of interest, investigate these folders to see if the folders and files have moved into the ProjectTemplatesCache folders where they should now be (Project templates & Item templates).

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Hopefully that should help those who need it. One thought from me is that there is now an “online” option when opening new project, that downloads templates from “online”, surely the GP templates could be hosted in there, thus avoid this hassle?

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Mystery of Qty Allocated & field name ATYALLOC

In Dynamics GP the inventory quantity allocated has a field name of “ATYALLOC”. You can see it lurking in IV00102 table, as a decimal (19,5). .

Why is is named ATYALLOC?

imageA field typed day in and day out, I ponder each time it is why it was named so. After all, would we not expect it to be named “QTYALLOC”, so tell me where did that “A” come from?

My horrific assumption is that this was a typo, the Q and A key on a keyboard being so close together, please let me be wrong. Did such an error get through QA back in the dark days of software development?
I have the feeling there may be a back story to this naming that someone on the inside may be able to tell us about. Perhaps there was a conflict with another field, or some obscure reason it was named so?

Please comment if you can add anything to this mystery…or simply that I’m stupid for not seeing some obvious reason!

 

[updated 25th Oct 2015] The legend…

.. so I was listening to The Enterprise Software Podcast Episode 28 featuring Ed Kless https://twitter.com/edkless where he turned a myth into legend, Ed mentioned the ATYALLOC field and had a story about it. This was really odd as the podcast was in Aug and I independently posted this post without knowing about it in the September – bizarre!

Ed said,
“I think I have the corrected legend”

Ed goes on to explain that Mitch Ruud, former manager of technologies at Great Plains Software  https://www.linkedin.com/in/mruud told him the origin of this field name.

Ed continued, “He {Mich Ruud} was ‘Demo God’, he was the man for OLAP cubes”,
“...it was a pain at the time, you'd bring up the list of fields, and there was like 200 fields. He had to scroll so far down that it took like forever. It was messing up his demo. So he said,
‘what we need to do is temporarily make one of these an A so I can easily find it  and it will make it much easier to do the demo.’
So they did it and it {the field} mistakenly found its way into {a production} build and it remains there today...”

Well there we have it, this field has its own legend! –I’d love to know if anyone out there can verify this with Mitch! If there are any other variations on the story let me know! Personally I have doubts about the validity of this story, as David in the comments of this post indicates it is not easy to rename a Dexterity field. My question is, would they really rename a field just to make a demo quicker? Why would you rename just one field for a demo, and if you were to, would it really be qty allocated, are there not more interesting fields to demo?

GP2016, looking sweet in HTML5

Release date for GP2016, 1st May 2016

[updated 9th March 2016]
It has now been officially announced that Microsoft GP2016 will be released on the 01 May 2016, see the details in Pam's Blog post Pam Misialek - Microsoft Dynamics GP 2016 is Coming in May

The future is delivered in HTML5

Dynamics GP product strategy and roadmap
GP2016 Webclient multi browser

imageToday we had a sneaky peep demo of the (fully) HTML5 web client for GP2016 –the official line is that Gary didn’t show us it as it’s “above his pay grade”. For the record it was the guy in the picture (Errol Schoenfish – Director of Product Marketing at Microsoft) that showed it to us –honest...

So out goes the old Silverlight webclient(-what was that Silverlight thing anyway?), going forward, in its place we get, GP forms rendering as native HTML5 web pages. It has to be said that what we saw looked very finished and very smart. User interface rendering to HTML5 is a very significant improvement as it means Microsoft GP can now offer a full GP client experience on any device that supports HTML5 browsers! Yes, that means an Android tablet, OSX, Linux and other  weird devices that I don’t know exist, will all allow full use of GP through a web browser. Not only any device, but any HTML5 browser, Firefox, Chrome etc! This feature is the completion of a staged process through previous versions of GP web client to this end goal. Credit to the development team, well done! Apologies as I didn’t take any photos of the new client demo. This was partly as I respect that this was a peek preview, partly as I was too amazed to remember to take them –anyway the REIMAGINE 2015 conference delegates don’t want me posting spoilers do you!

After the demo, I seized the opportunity to have a good talk, some of it technical with Gary Tronson, Engineering Manager at Microsoft, where we quickly covered a lot of subjects. Apparently much of the pain in getting the rendering to look right in HTML5 turned out to be issues like one pixel misalignments between controls on the UI that pre-existed in the traditional GP client, but were exposed when rendered to HTML5, showing up as jagged layouts. These misalignments had never previously noticed or bothering anyone however correcting the pixel alignment of UI objects relative to each other sorted it out.

imageThe infamous “hamburger icon” is a term I discovered from Scott Hanselman, it being the Microsoft name for the three horizontal lines icon often found as a navigation control in apps. It has now surfaced in the GP web client demo build of GP2016. It is being used to collapse the GP navigation that is now on the left hand side gutter of the GP UI of the new web client rather than the traditional location along the top of the window.  

Gary Tronson Principle Engineer Manager MicrosoftAccording to Gary, the GP2016 web client has been tested with some ISV custom products and in testing they objectively look better than in the standard GP client (maybe its just placebo effect?). This is also true for Visual Studio Addins that are supported so as long as the developer sticks to standard supported visual controls. Apparently it will also cope with rendering my Winforms within addins, I would love to proof this (sceptical me), he may be correct as most inherit from Dex base forms, so I guess they may well work.

I asked Gary about macro support. Macros continue to work in the HTML5 world, as it is merely the very top presentation layer of GP that is skimmed off for rendering in the web browser, so the server still runs the form (and the macro) at the server. This sounds great, but by gut says I would love to see it for real, to fully believe it!

Printing from GP is much the same as with the existing web client, again nothing really has changed as this sat below the Silverlight presentation layer in the previous versions so is unaffected.

Performance (keyboard responsiveness) is very good, it is almost as good as a the native windows application now, great news for users who perform lots of data entry.

Gary was at pains to point out that it is not worth holding out for the new web client as nothing will change in the infrastructure other than HTML5 is pushed to the browser, so this is a seamless upgrade for the consumers of the application. Thus there is no point waiting for 2016 folks, get into web client now.

I mentioned the Security Scramble an issue Mark Polino has been championing, Gary sited the GP2016 Simplification of Analytical Accounting User Access Settings as an example of where they are starting to tackle this issue.

See below for information on other goodness arriving next spring.

 

GP roadmap to 2017

Microsoft have moved to a Agile software development methodology, so features may be dropped to hit release, but let me summarise what's happening for GP2016, obviously with the caveat that this is subject to review and change:

Cloud

HTML 5 browser support
Control for managing HTML clients (– think multi tenant management)

Core Enhancements

Purchasing Requisitions – Project Integration
HTTPS Support for Management Reporter Viewer
Multiple Page Scan
Default EFT File Formats For Scotia Bank (!!!! why not generic format editor?)
Change Workflow Approval Conditions
Enable Credit card Payment  Type for Check Run Processing (yay!)
Increase Distribution Reference Field Size
Named User Licensing Support for Self Service User Type
Document Attach for Project Expenses

Business Intelligence

All-In-One Document  Viewer for Inventory (wonderful!)
All-In-One Document Viewer for Sales (Can’t wait!)
Export SmartList Numbers
Export/Import SmartLists
Creating a SmartList from an Existing Favourite
PowerBI charts on GP Role Center (nice)
OData for PowerBI

Ease of Use

Remove Inactive Payroll Pay Codes (US centric thingy)
Simplify Payroll Posting Setup
Create Exception Report on Budget Import
Simplify Analytical Accounting User Access Settings (more please)

 

Wrap up

Although Errol's anecdotes were obviously greatly missed this year, Gary filled his shoes really well, he presented a great session and another useful contact at MS to harass now… (joking)

Dynamics GP User Group for the UK, or not?

imageToday at m-hance customer day there was a session titled “Joining Information,New Microsoft GP User Group”, hosted by Andy Brown of m-hance.

This session was short, at half hour with an open questions to the audience.

The questions were on purpose seeing formative views along the lines:

  • Do the people present think that a GP user group is a good idea?
  • If so what should that User Group look like?
  • Who should run it?
  • Should  it be independent of partners
  • What would it offer to members?

At this time September 2015, I am unaware of any UK user groups for Dynamics GP. In the US, there is GPUG (GP User Group) a user group that is strong enough to hold a conference each year in the US. It is supported by Dynamic Communities an organisation from that describes itself as…

Dynamic Communities Inc. is the administrative organization behind professional associations and software user groups such as the Dynamics AX User Group (AXUG), the Dynamics GP User Group (GPUG), the Dynamics CRM User Group (CRMUG), and the Dynamics NAV User Group (NAVUG).

Should Dynamic Communities be approached to help?
m-hance would consider helping with seeding a new user group, supporting it to get it going, after all it is in their benefit to grow a strong user community that shines and evangelises the product. It could  be just a user group affiliated with that single partner, but an independent user group seems like a much better proposition, one in a position to encompass all the users of GP across all partners in the UK. Any sponsors would find an partner agnostic group spanning all users a more tempting proposition, I would imagine.

Data protection prevents partners passing on customer details, but they can promote such a user group’s existence in say email communications with their customers, thus drive users to such a group.

A show of hands showed half the audience to be interested, however my personal view is that each of those who were interested had a different idea of what a user group should look like to them. There was no firm conclusion.

I would be interested in any comments against this post from people who have touched GP user groups in other territories and how they work there, and what they get out of them.