I’m so glad the day has finally arrived where I can talk about this innovation, I think this is one of the coolest things in .NET development with Dynamics GP for some time. I have been restless to give it a go since I was first told about it.
What is the fuss about?
Last night VST Controls 1.0 was released. This is a really cool FREE .NET developer control library from Envisage Software (makers of PostMaster) & Precipio Services. When I say control library, it is actually a helper tool (provided as a .dll for GP 2013+) that allows any standard windows visual controls to be layered on a Dynamics GP form, and for the GP addin to communicate to those controls.
.NET development on Dynamics GP is limited to the standard set of dexterity controls that GP provides in modifier. Today users take for granted and expect as standard to be able to use more advanced controls with their applications.
Above shows a product photo on the Item Maintenance form of GP. To a Dynamics NAV developer, perhaps excitement from being able to place a picture from the database onto the form seems odd? -trust me this is cool for us GP .NET developers.
VST Controls®™ solves some of the frustration caused by being restricted to the small subset of controls that GP as standard provides to the developer. Now with VST Controls on the scene, a developer’s creativity is released, as any control, including 3rd party controls can be placed on top of a GP form. Not only that, it is done with a few lines of code, so very simple to achieve!
Often I have wanted to be able to add say, a web browser control or picture control, even hyperlinks to GP forms, but have ended up having to “pop” a dialog window (a .NET form) to do so. This in many cases this upsets the flow that the user experiences as they traverse the user interface. By layering the “VST Controls” on top of the GP windows this should solve many of these issues.
Hey- this is not a substitute for the design time experience if the GP modifier designer suddenly supported .NET controls, but is the next best thing. There are also going to be some limitations to what you can do using this technique, already I've noticed issues around when the user resizes the GP form, but I’ll tolerate those limitations for what this opens up to me.
Go try it
So go try it – let your imagination go wild, it is totally $£€Free – no royalties it is offered as a contribution to our GP community –so well done guys!