How to determine if a report or a form has been modified??

By Mariano Gomez, MVP, MCP

How many times have you walked into a GP implementation done by a previous VAR and cannot establish what changes have been done on a report, if any? Or how many times have you come across forms and reports dictionaries with tons of objects and cannot tell by simply looking at these if they have been changed or not? Or have you made some changes to a report a few years aback and now cannot remember what these changes were? I get this question every once in a while and finally someone was keen enough to post it on the Dynamics GP public newsgroup. Solution Let me start by saying that ALL modified forms and reports should ALWAYS be backed up in the form of package files, and that ALL these package files should be stored in a source code control repository — for example, Visual Source Safe — and versioned if all possible, with notes on all changes done from version to version. However, this is not always possible, especially if the company happens to be a small company with limited technical and software development resources — unless of course, the business happens to do software development 🙂 ). In order to establish what changes have been done to a form or a report, without having a source control repository, you can use old fashioned Microsoft Word… well, I will be using Microsoft Word 2007 for this example. In addition, we will use a slightly modified version of the SOP Blank Invoice report.

 CustomizationChanges00

*Click on image to enlarge

1) Export the modified report to a package file. Go to Microsoft Dynamics GP > Tools > Customize > Customization Maintenance. Highlight the SOP Blank Invoice report and click on Export. Save the file as SOPBlankInvoice_Modified.package

CustomizationChanges01

*Click on image to enlarge

2) From a workstation not pointing to the REPORTS.DIC dictionary file containing the modified report or from a standalone copy of GP, say for example the one you carry on your laptop, print the SOP Blank Invoice report to screen. Go to Transactions > Sales > Sales Transactions and choose an invoice. Print to screen. Click on Modify to open the report with Report Writer. Once the report is shown in the Report Layout window, return to Dynamics GP.

CustomizationChanges01a

*Report with no customizations. Click on image to enlarge

3) Repeat step 1 on your standalone environment, this time saving the file as SOPBlankInvoice_Original.package. Move the SOPBlankInvoice_Modified.package file to the same directory with the SOPBlankInvoice_Original.package file. This will both files easily accessible.

CustomizationChanges02

*Click on image to enlarge

4) Open Microsoft Word 2007.

Click on the Review menu item. CustomizationChanges03

*Click on image to enlarge

5) Click on the Compare option. Open your SOPBlankInvoice_Original.package in the Original document column, open SOPBlankInvoice_Modified.Package in the Revised document. Changes can be labeled with markers to allow for easy identification. Word will run the comparison and highlight any changes between the two documents

CustomizationChanges05

*Click on image to enlarge

Remember: it’s not about the tools, it’s about how you use these tools to meet your needs. I hope this article provides a mechanism to quickly and accurately identify changes between original reports and customized reports and help you get a headstart when working at customers and customizations you have not created — or may have and don’t recall 🙂 .

Until next post!

Regards,

Mohammad R. Daoud
MCP, MCBMSP, MCTS, MCBMSS
Software Development Manager
+962 – 79 – 999 65 85
Great Package For Business Solutions
daoudm@greatpbs.com
http://www.greatpbs.com/
http://mohdaoud.blogspot.com/

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About Mohammad R. Daoud
Mohammad R. Daoud has been working as a Microsoft Dynamics GP consultant since 2004. His career path started with version 7.5; he studied every single tip of the application technicalities and did allot of successful implementations that includes functional consultations, analysis, and custom development projects. He holds a graduate degree in Computer Science and currently he is pursuing MBA degree in Accounting. In January 2007 he was nominated to the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) certificate and was certified in April 2008 due to his online contributions in the Dynamics Community (Dynamics GP Newsgroups, Forums, User Groups and his blog: http://mohdaoud.blogspot.com). Worth to mention that he was also listed as one of the Microsoft Dynamics Top 100 Most Influential People in 2009 by DynamicsWorld. And more... • Demonstrated Passion for MS Products through participating in beta testing for some product versions, an effective member of Microsoft Connect. • Talented in securing strong high quality relationships with premier customers, partners and sales teams passionately and profitably. • Dedicated to meeting the expectations and requirements of internal and/or external customers • Problem Solver – Uses systematic approach to uncover true problem(s) and practical solution and can marshal resources to solve problem! • Proven record of effective account management, including Account Planning, Opportunity Management, and Business Management Excellence and working as part of a larger virtual team • Successful in delivering high quality technical engagements in the enterprise Dynamics GP implementations area according to customer requirements. • Dedicated, Committed, Self Motivated, Creative and highly focused with excellent communication, Negotiation, presentation, Active Listening and Objection Handling skills. • Experienced in Profitable researches and studies including white papers and technical presentations.

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