Something I am often asked is how to get started with Dexterity. As Dexterity is not really known outside of the Microsoft Dynamics GP world, there are not a large number of books available on the subject, like there are for Visual Basic or Visual C#.
Note: if you are still unsure about which tool or tools is best for you, please see the Choosing a Development Tool post.
So what is the best place to get started. Below are the steps I suggest.
NOTE: All the articles and links I refer to can be found on the Dexterity Articles & Links page of this blog.
- Install Dexterity
Either from the \Tools\Dex\Setup folder of CD 2 of the Microsoft Dynamics GP install CDs or downloaded from CustomerSource (link at bottom of this page). Follow the steps in KB 949622 (link at top of this page) to set up the development environment.
Read the Manuals
Dexterity installs manuals in a Manuals folder. They can also be accessed from the Help menu inside Dexterity. I suggest that you work through the Quick Start manual, using the Programmer's Guide Volumes 1 & 2 for reference. You should also browse through the sanScript Reference and the Function Library Reference to get familiar with what commands and functions are available. The Integration Guide explains how to write integrating applications and how to re-use all the navigation and security facilities inside Microsoft Dynamics GP.
Do the Training
The Dexterity Fundamentals training (now called Dexterity I) is an excellent start to getting the foundations needed for all Dexterity developers. The materials can be downloaded from CustomerSource (link at bottom of this page). While this training can be completed as self study, nothing beats getting trained by an instructor in the classroom. Every now and then Microsoft offers training courses for Dexterity (I trained one in Melbourne, Australia in late 2007). I will update the blog when I hear of courses.
Your other choice for classroom training in the USA is to attend one of Leslie Vail's classes run through Integrated Business Group Training Courses. Leslie runs the Dexterity I and less known Dexterity II classes. See the bottom of this article for links to training courses.
Note: The training materials are for version 9.0. Don't worry, this is the latest version and everything is still valid for later versions of Microsoft Dynamics GP and Dexterity.
Use the Help File
Press F1.... The Dexterity help file is a brilliant resource for all things Dexterity. Use it.
Read the articles
The Dexterity Articles & Links page on this blog has links to great Knowledge Base (KB) articles as well as conference materials on advanced techniques, such as cross dictionary and multi-dictionary development.
Use the Newsgroups
There is a list of links for Newsgroups on the left hand section of this blog. The Microsoft Dynamics GP Developer newsgroup is an excellent resource.
Use the Tool
Get the hands on experience. The best way to learn is to actually get down and create some Dexterity windows and write some sanScript code. It is recommended that you start with a small integration or customisation project first. Learn to walk before you run. Completely changing the behaviour of the SOP_Entry window is not recommended as your first project.
Use the SDK (Software Development Kit)
The SDK can be installed from the Tools folder of CD 2 of the Microsoft Dynamics GP install CDs or downloaded from CustomerSource or the MSDN Dynamics GP Developer Center (links on the Developer Articles & links page). The SDK contains vast amounts of information on the data model and transaction flows as well as documentation on procedures and functions that can be re-used.
Please add your comments on your experiences or advice you can give to new Dexterity developers.
27-Aug-2008: Integrated Business Group & Leslie Vail are offering Dexterity training in Orlando in October. See here for more information Dexterity Training in Orlando (Oct 20th to 24th).
24-Apr-2009: Added link to Choosing a Development Tool post.
08-Feb-2012: Added note about training materials being version 9.0.