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Tech Tuesday: Extender vs Modifier


I have been asked many times the difference between Modifier from Microsoft and eOne’s Extender, so I thought I would lay out some of the differences of Extender vs Modifier for you.

Extender allows you to add windows and forms to Microsoft Dynamics GP to capture data that isn’t available in Dynamics GP already.  There are two versions of Extender, Standard and Enterprise.  With Extender Enterprise, you can also add logic to the windows and forms you create as well as to the Microsoft Dynamics GP windows.

Modifier is a tool from Microsoft that allows you to modify the look and feel of Microsoft Dynamics GP windows, make global changes that affect all of GP, and add new fields to Microsoft Dynamics GP.

Note:  As we go through this comparison and say that it does something to Microsoft Dynamics GP Windows, this includes any additional products and other ISV products as well.

Extender vs Modifier


Creating New Windows in Microsoft Dynamics GP:

With Extender, you can create new windows that are attached to an existing Microsoft Dynamics GP window and is linked to a Dynamics GP data record.  You can also create forms which are new windows in Microsoft Dynamics GP that are accessed from a new menu as they aren’t attached to an existing Dynamics GP window.  

Modifier doesn’t allow you to create new windows in Microsoft Dynamics GP.  It only allows you to modify existing Dynamics GP windows.


Modifying Existing Microsoft Dynamics GP Windows:

Extender will not allow you to modify the existing Microsoft Dynamics GP windows.  It will only create new ones that can be linked to the existing windows based on Key Fields that will “link” the data together.

Modifier will allow you to change the appearance of Microsoft Dynamics GP windows.  You can move fields around, resize the fields  and windows, change the labels on fields, and set the tab sequence.  Modifier also allows you to add fields that exist in other Microsoft Dynamics GP windows that are related to the window you are modifying.  Modifier will also allow you to make some Global Changes such as changing the format, label, etc on a field across the whole Microsoft Dynamics GP system.


Adding New Fields to Microsoft Dynamics GP:

Extender will allow you to add up to 30 main fields (one to one relationship to the Dynamics GP data) and 20 detail fields (many to one relationship to the Dynamics GP data) per Window or Form.  It will be on the new Window or Form that you create with Extender.  There is no code needed to add a new field to an Extender Window or Form, you simply give it a name and pick the data type.  Extender takes care of the storing of the data in its SQL tables.

Modifier will allow you to create new fields to add to the Microsoft Dynamics GP window.  It will require the user to also use Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), Visual Studio Tools for Microsoft Dynamics GP, or the Continuum API to ensure the data is loaded and saved as you move through the records.  You will also need somewhere such as SQL tables or DUOS objects to store the data.


Changing Microsoft Dynamics GP Logic:

Extender Enterprise will allow you to add to the logic of not only the Extender Windows and Forms, but the Microsoft Dynamics GP windows as well.  You can do things like prepopulate fields based on the data in other fields, pull data from other windows to populate new fields, check for totals before allowing a user to save, etc.

Modifier would require you to use Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), Visual Studio Tools for Microsoft Dynamics GP, or the Continuum API to change the Logic of Microsoft Dynamics GP.


How the Setups are Stored:

Extender stores all of the Windows and Forms you setup as well as all their formatting in the respective company database tables in SQL.  Upon install, it will create an set of new tables with the prefix of EXT.  Each new resource you create is company specific, so you can customize them to be specific to how each company uses Dynamics GP.

Modifier will store all of its customizations to the Microsoft Dynamics GP windows in a forms.dic.  This dictionary file can be stored locally on each workstation or on a network location somewhere for all the workstations to share.


Accessing the New Setups:

Extender will require you to setup security to the new Windows and Forms you create in each company. This is done using the standard Microsoft Dynamics GP Security Roles and Tasks.

Modifier will require to you setup security to the modified windows using the Alternate/Modified Forms and Reports security option in Microsoft Dynamics GP.


Upgrading the setups:

Extender keeps all of its resources separate from the Microsoft Dynamics GP setup, so the upgrade is completely separate as well.  Extender has its own upgrade process and generally doesn’t involve much.  The format of the Extender Windows and Forms is set and the fields are just stored as SQL data, so changes to Microsoft Dynamics GP windows don’t change anything with Extender.  Most of the time, it is just adding new features to the product so adding new fields to tables.  Code that may have been added when using Extender Enterprise occasionally can require a few modifications, but for the most part does not.  It is dependent on what changes Microsoft makes to the Dexterity scripting language itself and if any of the changes affect the code that was written.

Modifiers changes are linked to the Microsoft Dynamics GP windows, so any changes made by Microsoft in the upgrade process could affect the changes made in Modifier.  They Forms dictionary that holds all of the modifications, will need to be updated in Microsoft Dynamics GP Utilities.  Any additional code that was written using VBA, Visual Studio, etc. could need to be modified to update to the new release of Microsoft Dynamics GP.

If you have any more questions about Extender vs Modifier, feel free to email us at sales@eonesolutions.com

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