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.