I took some time to play with the SmartList Designer feature that released with Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 SP2 recently. While it is a nice addition to SmartList from Microsoft and features such as the Results preview and the ability to create new SmartLists from the default SmartLists, it is still missing a lot of features that SmartList Builder has already.
Here is a list of features I found that SmartList Designer DOES NOT give you that SmartList Builder DOES.
- Summary: It does not have an option to create a Summary SmartList so I can see a quick overview of the data and drill down into the detail if I need.
- Multicompany: There is no option to pull data from multiple companies into one SmartList.
- Re-order Columns: While you can go into the SmartList Options window to change the order of columns, it doesn’t allow you to reorder the columns as you want when you are building the SmartList.
- GoTos: There is no option to add GoTos so that you can drill down to the Microsoft Dynamics GP windows directly from SmartList.
- Import/Export: I cannot setup the SmartLists on my development environment and get them exactly how I want and then import them into my live system. They would have to be setup again from scratch.
- Extender: There is no option to add in my Extender resources. I would have to use Extender Views to get the data into the SmartList.
- SQL Objects: It can only add SQL Views from the company database that I am logged into and the system database. It doesn’t allow you to pull in tables from the company and system databases or anything from other databases you have on your SQL Server. In saying this, it also gives the users automatic access to the SQL Views in the databases. There isn’t a way to control the access to the views other than changing permissions in SQL.
- Restrictions: They exist in the Designer, but they are limited compared to those with SmartList Builder and they cannot applied to specific users.
- Matched Tables: There is not an option to match tables between work, open, and history, unless that is what the cross join option is designed to do. I cannot get it to function in that manner though.
- Column Display: It doesn’t give me the option to specify which columns I want to have available to use if I need and which ones to display by default. I can only pick the ones to display by default.
- Account Indexes and Note Indexes: If you modify an existing SmartList, it will display the Account Index as an Account Number for you. If you create your own though, you cannot display the Account Number instead of the Account Index. The same goes for the Note Index.
- Formatting: There really isn’t any sort of formatting you can do to the fields. You cannot select the number of decimals, the display of currency symbols, define lists that aren’t defined, or create masks for strings. You also cannot format the dates to remove the 1/1/1900 dates.
- Security: While I can lock down security to SmartList and the designer window in general, there is not individual security to what a user can do in the Designer. They either get it or they don’t. This means that everyone who gets it will automatically have access to preview the SmartLists they build and be able to see any data, especially payroll, in the system. They don’t have to have access to the actual SmartLists to view the data.
- Excel Report Builder/Navigation List Builder/Drill Down Builder: SmartList Designer doesn’t have any answer for building your own Excel Reports, Navigation Lists, or creating Drill Downs to GP.
With all that being said, SmartList Designer does do a few things that SmartList Builder doesn’t. I mentioned earlier that it has a Results option and does allow you to modify the default SmartLists.
Now that SmartList Builder is coming back home to eOne, (click here for message) we can include some features that should make everyone happy. Here is a couple of things we plan to add:
- A preview feature so that you can see the data in SmartList Builder without having to go to SmartList each time to view it. The plan is to add this to SmartList Builder, Excel Report Builder, and Navigation List Builder, but make sure that there is security around it so that it can be restricted so users cannot view data they shouldn’t be able too.
- Ability to create new SmartLists from the default SmartLists without having to import the setups that are available from Microsoft or eOne.
- A Table Finder feature to help with finding the tables that you are looking for when building a new SmartList.
- And of course, we will have the ability to modify the SmartLists that have been built in SmartList Designer.
Look for more information on these and other features to come in future blogs from eOne.