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Never, Never Look at the tables


I have blogged, preached, pleaded, begged, trained, demonstrated on the same topic for 7 years. I now declare my job impossible. Without the power of a deity – which I clearly do not possess, I simply can not change consultant and developer instinct.

Instinct says that if you are asked to write a report, go and look in the tables. Instinct says that if you need to reference a field on a web page, go look in the tables. Instinct says that if you need to import data, go an write to the tables. Instinct says ….

Is it possible that natural instinct is wrong? There is a long Darwinian discussion that could follow here. YES – instinct can be wrong. When it comes to Microsoft Dynamics GP eXtender, instinct is wrong.

Just yesterday I had some of our internal team helping to build a demonstration for WWPC which is on later this month. One of the tasks was to have a web page reference some data that was being stored with an eXtender form. Yesterday I heard cursing, muttering and the banging of office stationary coming from one of the developers cubicles. So naturally I approached carefully to determine what the issue might be! What I found was a .net developer searching around the EXT00XXX tables looking for where particular values were being stored.

My first reaction was to drop to the floor and begin wailing and weeping violently.(just instinct). After regathering a small semblance of composure, I was able to ask the question “how long have you been looking through these tables?”. The answer was an aggressive “Too XXXXXXX long ….”. I calmly took control of the offending mouse, clicked eXtender, eXtender views, mark all and save. Problem solved. The website reference was complete in about 2 minutes. If this can happen 3 foot from where I sit every day, I shudder to think what might be happening around the world every day. Am I the cause of much cursing, stomping and damage to office stationary?



EXTENDER VIEWS. EXTENDER VIEWS. EXTENDER VIEWS. EXTENDER VIEWS. EXTENDER VIEWS. EXTENDER VIEWS.

I agree the eXtender tables are a little complex. They should be. How else can we deliver unlimited user defined forms and windows, with unlimited user defined fields within an ERP? At eOne we do not hard code. We let you configure. If you want a new form that has nothing but 100 date fields, then you can build it. The eXtender table structure supports that and most anything else you can dream up. All this without changing source code or making future upgrades more difficult.

Extender views are SQL views. SQL views that take the complex table structure of eXtender and undo it, to present to your report writer or developer, a simple SQL view containing all the data captured within any particular eXtender object. This process takes less than 30 seconds.

So every time that you create a new object within eXtender, take the time to click the views object, and create a view. You can then use this data in any reporting tool you dream up, and can tell your developers or BI experts to pull the data right from that view.

Here are the steps below:
1. click on the eXtender views object within eXtender. (same for Microsoft Dynamics GP Extender and eXtender Enterprise).



2. Select the eXtender objects and or GP tables you want included within your view. Mark the fields you would like included.



3. For the skeptical – take a look in SQL to see all the data that has been entered into this eXtender object.

7 Comments

  1. VAIDHYANATHAN MOHAN on July 6, 2010 at 7:31 am

    I must admit that I was one such Developer, till I became a Consultant.

    And I could understand the feeling of helplessness in teaching Developers as well.

    Extender is one awesome product with lots of mysteries for budding developers. We got to solve those mysteries to get ourselves enlightened.

    Vaidy

  2. Martin on July 6, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Thanks Vaidy. Give me some ideas on what else I should be doing to help spread the word?

  3. RamManohar on July 13, 2010 at 5:53 am

    CRM .The Easy CRM Software for Outlook. Prophet simplifies contact management software, contact manager, small business Sales CRM Software. Prophet is the easiest CRM software because it

  4. mbailey on March 5, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Where is the View stored? What is it called? I created a view, then went into SQL Studio Manager to find it, but don't see it anywhere.

    Mike

  5. mbailey on March 5, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Where is the View stored? What is it called? I created a view, then went into SQL Studio Manager to find it, but don't see it anywhere.

    Mike

  6. mbailey on March 5, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Never mind – Found it. Had to refresh the views.

    Mike

  7. Kyle0101 on May 28, 2014 at 8:35 am

    This is all great information and while I would agree with you 99% of the time, there are times where you do need to get to the underlying tables. When creating a dropdown list in extender, view that gets created uses a derived field. So the extender table is storing a number, but the column in the view is derived by a case statement. So when you try update/insert using the view you get the

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