June 15, 2024

As more small and medium business organizations deploy open platform operating systems and tools, such as Linux with various mixes and PHP/MySQL, we would like to share our experience deploying Microsoft Great Plains in these mixed OS environments. If you are using Oracle and Unix, you may also want to consider the methodology, however it deserves a separate article just for a brief overview, especially on the nuances of Java, EJB.

1. Overview of the MS Great Plains platform. The GP workstation is written in the C Shell, called Great Plains Dexterity. It was designed in the early 1990s, when DB and OS platform independence was the paradigm. However, when Microsoft acquired Great Plains Software seven years ago, Microsoft Dexterity was downplayed and GP itself was open to the .Net platform and to Microsoft Visual Studio C# and VB developers, especially through eConnect. Also, GP is available only on the Microsoft SQL Server DB platform. That being said, Microsoft Great Plains versions 10.0 and 9.0 should be considered committed to Microsoft technologies: SQL Server, .Net, Windows, MS Office: Sharepoint, Excel, etc.

2. Cross-platform SQL queries. If you’re doing this from the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or 2000 side, the build you typically use is Linked Server, where you first test the ODBC connection to Linux World. If you are on Oracle, a similar build will allow you to connect MS SQL Server

3.Web Services. eConnect allows you to open GP objects for non-Microsoft developers via XML web services; you can use the eConnect interface directly or wrap it in a custom web service interface

4. eConnect Tour. The core of eConnect is a set of encrypted MS SQL Server stored procedures, allowing you to manipulate GP master records and work transactions: SOP Entry, POP Receipts, Customers, Vendors, to name a few. eConnect has GP architecture restrictions, one of the typical FAQ is why can’t we publish GP batches to eConnect? Well, this is the restriction, but you can break it by using Albaspectrum’s publish server. eConnect was initially dedicated to e-commerce software developers, to enable GP ERP platform as back-office accounting for e-commerce front-end.

5. Integration technology. Here again eConnect enters the scene. GP Integration Manager, which is a fairly traditional Great Plains integration tool, has recently been partially redesigned in eConnect and therefore IM performance has increased substantially. Instant Messaging can read tab- and comma-delimited text files, as well as ODBC-compliant queries. When programming the integration, be sure to select the eConnect target connector as preferred, instead of implementing the normal target connector (older connectors use the GP workstation as an OLE server to validate Great Plains business logic directly on the GP displays, which obviously slows down performance )

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