Archive for April, 2009

Dynamics as a Second Language

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Over the years it’s become a joke in my family that when my wife is having a hard time going to sleep at night she says “tell me about your day”. I then spout out what sounds like a foreign language called Dynamics-Geekyease and it puts her to sleep in no time at all. If you are new to the Dynamics world it probably seems like you are listening to a foreign language. I’ve put together the guide below when learning Dynamics as a second language.

Generic (everyone should know) Terms

  • Convergence – THE Microsoft customer conference held each year around March/April. In the past has been held in Orlando, San Diego (my favorite), Texas, New Orleans and next year in Atlanta.
  • Partner – I wax eloquent describing a partner vrs. Var here. MBS uses partners to implement and sell Dynamics.
  • Customersource – Gives you access to all your account info for MBS. Where you find the Knowledgebase for Dynamics. Same tool partners have.
  • Partnersource – Same as Customersource but has all the partners client information including reg keys etc.
  • Dynamics – Every application falls under the Dynamics heading. GP, CRM, AX, NAV and SL are all Dynamics products. See Acronyms. Was once a version of GP. See David Musgrave Post.
  • Voice – Part of Partnersouce. Where you find client information, Reg keys, etc.
  • Module – What MBS will sell you if you need to do anything besides posting debits and credits in the GL (in fact that is a module, the GL module). Becoming much better with BRL and Advanced Management pricing.
  • Fargo – The motherland for Great Plains. Where Dynamics was created. So now we get the privilege of frequenting the barren wilderness as Microsoft has made Fargo home as well.
  • “Go Bisons!” – Frenetic chant by inhabitants of the motherland during NDSU vs UND, usually followed by lots of beers.
  • “Old Broadway” – (O.B.) Establishment frequented by Microsoft international visitors. Usually the place where people meet for (home brewed) beers and music after a long day of training.
  • Moorhead – Twin sister city of the motherland, located in MN.
  • Knowledgebase – As it sounds. Where you can search for help with GP (errors, how to, etc) without having to pay more than your enhancement fee.

Acronyms

  • MBS – Microsoft Business Solutions
  • GP – Great Plains
  • AX - Axapta
  • NAV - Navision
  • SL - Solomon
  • CRM – Customer Relationship Management
  • SPLA – Service Provider License Agreement. Kind of like renting Dynamics instead of owning.
  • ODBC – Open Database Connection. Used to connect GP to SQL server.
  • MCP – Microsoft Certified Professional
  • MCT – Microsoft Certified Trainer
  • MVP – Most Valuable Professional
  • FA – Fixed Assets
  • PM – Payables Management
  • RM – Receivables Management
  • SOP – Sales order processing
  • POP – Purchase order processing
  • IM – Integration manager. Don’t confuse with the other IM, Instant messenger
  • AA – Most long time GP consultants need to attend an AA meeting but in GP terms it refers to Analytical Accounting
  • SAAS – Software as a Service. AKA – Hosting Dynamics
  • ASP – Application Service Provider. See RASP for more info.
  • SSRS- SQL Server Reporting Services.
  • BRL – Business Ready Licensing
  • VAR – Value Added Reseller of Dynamics application
  • FRx – Financial Reporting Extender. General ledger reporting tool used to create financials. Here’s a nice overview. Here’s a blog dedicated to FRx Buzz.
  • AFA – Advanced Financial Analysis. Crappy out of the box financial reporting tool.
  • SQL – Structured Query Language. Pronounced Sequel. Database management system Dynamics uses
  • MSDE – Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Edition. Watered down version of full blown SQL.
  • VBA - Visual Basic for Applications
  • IAP – International Allied Partners, a.k.a. former Great Plains ISVs/wholesale distributors in other countries.
  • CIS – Certified Installation Specialist conference, now rebranded as Technical Airlift.
  • CSE – Dexterity Certified Systems Engineer, no longer a certification, but still looks good on resumes.
  • CID – Dexterity Certified Integration Developer, no longer a certification, but still looks good on resumes.
  • NDSU vs UND – The biggest game of the year in the motherland, town shuts down for the game.

Famous Dynamics People

Famous Dynamics Bloggers

– See Other Dynamics Blogger Links on the RBS Homepage

Dynamics Great Plains Terms

  • DexterityProgramming language Dynamics GP was written in
  • Post through/post to general ledger – Setting in posting setup that controls where a batch will be posted to. Posting from a submodule can automatically update the GL or be stopped at the GL to be reviewed before updating the GL.
  • Report Writer – Reporting tool used in GP to do all reports such as trial balance, checks, invoices, inventory reports etc.
  • access – Often used password for sa and system user. If in doubt try access. Not as frequently used as it used to be.
  • Smartlist – Query tool in GP that exports data to excel
  • SA password – System administrator password for SQL. All powerful user that can do anything in the system. Needed to add/delete users, set company access unless you do as Mariano Gomez suggests in his blog.
  • System Password – password needed in GP to access system related settings
  • Dynamics utilities- application that updates GP forms and reports, synchronizes accounting framework, adds new companies, turns off SOP warning messages.
  • RDPRemote Desktop Protocol. Can connect to another workstation or server using start>>programs>>accessories>>communication>>Remote Desktop connection
  • Citrix Remote access software often used to host Dynamics
  • Terminal ServerAnother way to host or access GP
  • Local Client – Local install of Dynamics on a workstation
  • Reports.dic – File that contains all the modified reports for your system
  • Forms.dic – File that contains all the modified forms for your system.
  • Dynamics.set – Tells you what products are installed and gives the path for all the .dic files in the system.
  • Dynutils.set – Same as dynamics.set but used for Dynamics Utilities
  • Dex.ini – Initialization File for Dynamics GP. Contains setup and operating information such as print dialog, account synchronization etc.
  • Dexsql.log (step 3 on page)– First file MBS support people ask you to send when they have no clue as to the resolution of the issue. Can grow very rapidly so you want to turn this off after you are done with it.
  • Chunk – Compiled Dexterity code
  • Dictionary – Working product with or without source code, usually built in Dexterity.
  • DexUtils – Catchy name used by Dex developers to refer to the Dexterity Utilities application. Word is in danger of extintion.
  • DynUtils – Catchy name used by GP users and consultants to refer to the Dynamics Utilities. Heck no! Still alive and kicking as a word.
  • Sysdata – Default folder that holds all modified reports for FRx. Location all FRx stations point to so they see the same information. Holds Security, registration information, GL index files in this location.
  • .G32 – FRx GL index file. If FRx is acting weird delete files that end with .G32 when everyone is out of FRx. First troubleshooting step.
  • .TDB – Export file of FRx reports
  • Spec Set – Actual file that contains all FRx rows, columns, trees, and catalogs.
  • .LDB – Lock file for FRx. Delete if you get stuck in FRx. Make sure everyone is out of FRx when you delete these files.

Please let me know of other terms I have missed. I’m sure I’m not the only Dynamics-Geekyease fluent person out there.

The list grows, thanks Mariano for contributing more DSL terms.

The famous David Musgrave

I was talking with a client the other day about shared reports, forms etc. and he said he HATES sharing those files. He instead uses a synchronized approach.
I replied “you must know Dave Musgrave“.

He said “Why yes. I follow his blog. How did you know?”

I made an educated guess as whenever I blog about sharing the reports.dic file David always points out the error of my ways. ha.

Funny thing is he hasn’t seen David’s shared reports.dic blog. So I pointed him in the right direction. His reply was “I guess I was cool before synchronizing was cool”.

We were then trouble shooting what we think is an upgrade issue from GP 7.0 to 10.0 and was on the line with a systems guy from Microsoft. He asked if we use a shared reports and forms file.

I said “No way, this client is a Musgravion follower”.

No kidding, the MBS guy laughed and knew exactly what I was referring to.

So not only is “Musgravion” an official word in the Dynamics language, David is know from Perth, AUS to Kalispell, MT to San Diego, CA to Fargo, ND.

Unable to Open Customizations Dictionary

Picture Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains uses a reporting tool called Report Writer. I’ve given it somewhat of a bad rap in the past. I hope I haven’t hurt anyone’s feelings with my disparaging words.

One of the most common errors I see people referring to is the “Unable to open customizations dictionary” error when trying to import a new report into the reports.dic file. The resolution to this error is talked about in tech doc 919440 and 869323. Nine times out of Ten the resolution includes getting everyone out of GP then trying to import the file again. (Tools>>customize>>customization maintenance).

Error message something like this:unable to open

I suppose if you don’t have much to do, or have more than a few users and those users don’t have that much to do, it’s not really a problem to kick everyone out of the system. But often I’ll hear “Oh fiddle sticks, I’ll have to wait till tonight to do this” as there’s no way to kick everyone out of the system during the day.

When I have the patience and energy I use the following steps to bring in the new reports so that users can still be in the system and the import is still successful.

  1. Make a backup of the Reports.dic file
  2. Save your package file where you can browse to it from Dynamics
  3. Change the path to the reports.dic file in the dynamics.set file to a new location. (By default the Dynamics.set file is in the GP folder where Dynamics is installed. Open with notepad and the reports.dic file is the 3rd line down where the paths start to all the products.) Change the path to a new location or simply change the reports.dic file path to end with reports2.dic instead of reports.dic
  4. Launch Dynamics and open Customization Maintenance (Tools>>customize>>Customization Maintenance)
  5. Import the new report from the package file to the new reports2.dic file
  6. Exit out of Dynamics
  7. Change the reports2.dic path back to what it started with in step 3, in our case ending with reports.dic
  8. Launch Dynamics and open report writer (Tools>>Customize>>Report Writer)
  9. Choose Import on the right
  10. Browse to the Reports2.dic dictionary file, highlight the report and press insert (You may be asked to overwrite the current report if you already have that report in the system), then press “Import” at the bottom to bring in the report.

Reports import

Not the easiest but works without getting everyone out of the system.

FRx Top Technical Support Issues

FRx has been around forever and is the most often recommended tool to do financial statements for the Dynamic GP and SL. The life span is coming to an end in the distant future but will still be around for many years. Over the past several years I’ve made a most common technical support list for FRx. FRx buzz has a top 12 tips list you can check out as well.

Here is my top trouble shooting list in no particular order:

  1. Can’t launch FRx from GP (Reports>>financial>>FRx) – Tech doc 850786 – The path to FRx is stored in the FRXDYN.INI file in the Great Plains directory on the workstation. If the path was entered incorrectly rename the FRXDYN.INI file, launch FRx again from Great Plains, and choose the correct path to the FRX32.exe file on your particular workstation.
  2. Missing accounts in BS or P & L (or financials don’t tie) – FRx does not automatically update accounts added in GP. Run exception report in FRx then add accounts that are missing or duplicate.
  3. How to create a budget variance report- See Tech doc 862445. Also shows you how do do the budget variance for certain rows. See previous post on how to get budget into GP step 6.
  4. Locked rows, columns or trees- Compact current spec set and system database – Tools>>compact FRx database. This solves lots of issues and is one of the first things you can do for maintenance purposes.
  5. Invalid work drive error – Tech doc 865772 for citrix, 864623 non citrix – For a temporary fix you can delete the Optional Work Drive path found at Admin>>processing options.
  6. Can’t see any accounts after page break – Use PI for a page break instead of PB. See tech doc 859445.
  7. FRx won’t take new year date period or Change default Base Period to C when opening a catalog in FRx- Tech doc 862372 – Delete .G32 files in Sysdata folder. I do this almost everytime I start troubleshooting as it solves a lot of issues. Automated solution for 10.0 is found here. 9.0 users can find it here. Heck, since I’m so nice here’s 7.5 and 8.0.
  8. How do you share FRx reports with multiple users- Tech doc # 854726- Basically export out all reports in Company>>spec set>>highlight all catalogs, rows, columns and trees and save to a TDB file (just in case). Copy Sysdata folder that you want to make shared and paste in a network location. Point all workstations to this folder in Admin>>organization>>sysdata. If you can’t change path there see step 14. Make sure this is being backed up with your nightly backup routine.
  9. Error 91 – Sucky error to get. As you see it could be one of 16 issues from tech doc 874276. It’s often a permission issue or DLL issue. (DLL automated solution here.)
  10. Error 8900- tech doc 912977 – Also have seen a company ID on a tree not be a valid company in GP cause this error.
  11. Where are the FRx service packs? See MBS link
  12. Can’t launch FRx from GP – The launch file for FRx is FRx32.exe. The default location is C:\Program Files\FRx Software\FRx 6.7\FRx32.exe. You can put that path in the location in Reports>>Finanicial>>FRx. If that launches something other than FRx report designer you can change the path in the FRXDYN.INI file in the GP folder on the workstation.
  13. OFSI errors – Tech doc 858323 – Similar to 91 and 8900 errors.
  14. Can’t change sysdata folder in Company>>organization>>sysdata – Update path manually in the FRx32.CFG file located in C:\Program Files\FRx Software\FRx 6.7\FRx32.CFG. Make sure there is a \ at the end of the path or it will error out.
  15. Can’t log into FRx. Usually the company>>information setup is incorrect. See tech doc 865836. Sometimes it’s an ID-10-T error. FRx uses the same SQL user as GP. Make sure the login ID is the same as GP not the network user ID that defaults in FRx. Must be exactly the same as GP. (eg. User ID – ted can not be TED.)

Any other common issues I’m neglecting?

Purchase to Order

Most GP users are familiar with the SOP-to-POP integration with which you can easily create a PO from a Sales Order. However I’m guessing that most users don’t know that a similar function exists with which you can easily create PO’s for a large number of sales documents at one time.

This is how you do it:

Navigate to the Sales Inquiry Restrictions screen: Inquiry >> Sales >> Restrict Sales Documents.

Create a range to select all the sales documents you want to be considered when creating PO’s. You can create a new one or use an existing inquiry.

Click on the “Inquiry” button.

This screen will pop up that shows all the sales documents selected.

Next, click on the “Purchase” button, and the Purchase Order Preview screen will pop up; the same one you’re used to with the SOP-to-POP function.
This can be very useful in a high volume distribution business.
I didn’t know about it, until a client showed me. Neat stuff.

Can’t print report after service pack, hotfix or tax update in Dynamics

I appologize to my faithful blog follower Chris G for not being as prolific this week. Chris emailed to remind me I have at least one person reading these posts. Thanks for the encouragement. This ones for you Chris.

I referenced this issue in a previous blog but let me give a few more details. The screen shot below is a GL trial balance that would not print after a tax CODE update. Dynamics simply crashed without giving any useful error. (this was an MSI file that was installed, went through the “include new code” routine in gp.) I’m assuming that this will be an issue with all updates in the future until the GP community revolts and refuses to use report writer any more.

The thing to note is this was not a modified report but it was still giving an error. I tried updating the modified forms and reports like is says in the documentation for SP’s but received the same response (GP crashed after generating the report below). I recreated the reports.dic file (see steps below) and it fixed the issue.

Don’t know if you can tell from the screen shot but the account numbers were all messed up with a box in the second segment and all spaced out. Click on screen shot for a better look.

Personally I would just do the below process and recreate the reports.dic file when doing updates from now on.

  1. Have all user Exit out of GP
  2. Save a copy of the reports.dic file
  3. log into gp and export out all reports etc. by going to Microsoft Dynamics GP>>tools>>customize>>customization maintenance
  4. Select everything in the window and choose export
  5. Save reports – I usually name it something like allreportsdate.package
  6. Exit out of GP
  7. Do the SP, Hotfix, Tax update
  8. Delete reports.dic file
  9. Log into GP
  10. Go to Microsoft Dynamics GP>>tools>>customize>>customization maintenance and choose import
  11. Select the file you exported in step 4 and choose Open, then OK. If you receive an error about “unable to open customization dictionary” you probably had someone sneak into GP and it can’t import because of it.

Modify Sales Tax Schedule Report

I had the honor of updating the sales tax rates in our Dynamics GP system following the 4/1/09 changes in CA. The existing Tax Schedule report was not useful to me because I had set up the sales tax function in GP to make good use of the Tax Details; so that a typical tax schedule will have 3 – 5 tax details in it. I quickly modified the report to show the tax percentages and to add them up by Tax Schedule.

To print the report navigate: Reports >> Company >> Taxes
Select “Tax Schedule” for the report type.

I made three modifications:

Add the Tax Detail Percent field from the Sales/Purchases Tax Master table, to the body of the report. You’ll want to make some room for it.

Add a footer with Report Section Options, using the Sales/Purchases Tax Schedule Header table, and the Tax Schedule ID field.

Add the Tax Detail Percent field from the Sales/Purchases Tax Master table, to the new footer. Change the Display Type to “Sum”.

And that’s it. This gave me the basic information I needed to ensure that I had set up the tax schedules correctly. It took me less than ten minutes to get the basic report.

You may want to make it look a little better by adding labels and formatting the total amount.

This is what mine looks like:

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