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David Musgrave’s Blog has moved

David Musgrave’s blog can now be found at

http://winthropdc.com/blog

 

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David Musgrave’s Blog has moved

October 17, 2014 · David Musgrave · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Blogs I Follow Total Views: 45

Time for a Change (not April Fools)

David Meego - Click for blog homepageHello to all my friends in the Microsoft Dynamics GP Community.

You have probably heard that Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, recently announced that Microsoft will be shedding 18,000 employees, a total of about 14% of its total work force.

Well, on the 19th of September 2014, I was asked to come into the office for a teleconference meeting with my Sydney based manager. As this was the first time in thirteen and half years I have been specifically asked to go into the office for a meeting (I usually work from my home office), I knew something was up.

My team had been shrinking over the last few years. So, it was not a surprise to be told that support for Asia Pacific for the Microsoft Dynamics GP product was now going to be handled out of the Fargo office and that my role as Escalation Engineer in Asia Pacific was no longer required.

A few year’s ago I wrote an April Fool’s Day post which was designed to make people believe I was leaving Microsoft. Well, this time it is true and today is my last day. The Microsoft era of my career, which started on 16th May 2001, finishes today on the 17th October 2014.

Instead of writing it all again, I am including the career history from previous article: 

As many of you know I have been involved with the Great Plains world since 1994 and Dynamics v2.0.  The company I was with at the time, Sequel Technology, actually looked at version 1.0, but decided not to get involved with the initial release. I learnt Dexterity v2.04 in Melbourne, Australia when Kevin Kidder made his first international trip and conducted the first Dexterity Fundamentals class outside of Fargo (quite a long way outside).

I spent a total of five years as a Director of Sequel Technology, a time which includes highlights as presenting Cross Dictionary Dexterity Development techniques at the 1998 Great Plains World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), and winning the 1997 Great Plains Technical Innovation Award for Named Printers (which was later sold to Great Plains and is now part of core code).

In 1999, I made a very hard decision to leave Sequel Technology and created my own business, Winthrop Dexterity Consultants.  I decided to focus on development of products and custom development and to no longer be directly involved with sales and implementation. My concerns were unfounded as the business was a great success, with achievements such as developing most of the GST (Goods and Services Tax) implementation for Australia while on contract to Great Plains Australia, and developing the Omni Tools and Omni Price products, which were later sold (Omni Security and Omni Field Security to Microsoft and the rest of the modules a few years later to Rockton Software).

In 2001, in conjunction with the sale of what became Advanced Security and Field Level Security, I joined Microsoft.  Initially, I continued to maintain the Advanced Security, Field Level Security and Business Activity Statement (Australian GST) code, but these were later handed over to dedicated development teams.  My role in Microsoft has shifted from a development focus, to a consulting focus and now to a support focus.  All the time, I have continued to leverage my development background to provide better results for the teams I have worked with. This can be seen with the “pet projects” I have been involved in such as the Developing for Dynamics GP blog, Menus for Visual Studio Tools and the Support Debugging Tool.

Now before anyone gets upset, I want to point out that I knew that this day would come someday. It just happened a little sooner than I expected, but I was ready for a change. Development is my first love and I was already thinking about new possibilities. Staying within Microsoft and living in Perth, it was not possible to find a new role related to Microsoft Dynamics GP, so I decided to create my own role outside of Microsoft.

I am pleased to announce that I will be restarting the consulting business I had before joining Microsoft. Winthrop Dexterity Consultants will be reborn as Winthrop Development Consultants.

Winthrop Development Consultants (www.winthropdc.com) will offer independent Microsoft Dynamics GP development skills (consulting, development and training) to the ISVs, partners and customers of the Dynamics GP community. It will also allow me to work on other development projects which have been waiting patiently in the sidelines.

I have really enjoyed my time at Microsoft but now it is time to move on. However, I am not leaving the Microsoft Dynamics GP (Great Plains) community and hope to see many of you at reIMAGINE 2014 in Fargo in November. Please make sure you find me to say “Hi” and to discuss how I can assist you.

As this will be my last post on the Developing for Dynamics GP Blog, I will continue blogging at http://winthropdc.com/blog.

David

PS: My email address will be the same as before: david at winthropdc dot com.

Original post:
Time for a Change (not April Fools)

October 17, 2014 · David Musgrave · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Blogs I Follow Total Views: 67

Customising the Company Login window series Part 4 – Visual Studio Tools

David Meego - Click for blog homepageFollowing on from my previous posts: Customising the Company Login window series Part 1 – IntroductionCustomising the Company Login window series Part 2 – Visual Basic for Applications and Customising the Company Login window series Part 3 – Dexterity, here is a discussion about trying to create a solution using Visual Studio Tools.

As discussed in the earlier posts, the problem we are trying to overcome is that the company drop down list on the Company Login window is not wide enough to show a long company name. This can make it difficult to select the correct company when the company names are long and differ only by some characters at the end of the name.

Below is a screenshot of the original window from Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013. 

 

Now I had planned to show you how to create the same customisation as the ones created previously using VBA and Dexterity. Sadly, that is not actually possible as Visual Studio Tools does not support the resizing of fields.

Visual Studio Tools for Microsoft Dynamics GP does not have the properties and methods required to natively read the size of a field and request it be changed.

 

So can you achieve the desired result using Visual Studio Tools?

The answer here is a conditional “Yes”.

It could be done “in theory” by using the unsupported method based on the Continuum Library and its ability to pass through Dexterity sanScript code for execution with the ExecuteSanscript() function. You can use similar Dexterity code to the code used in part 3 of this series. 

Now on my machine I have Visual Studio 2013 installed and the Visual Studio Tools for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 only support Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 2012. Thanks to my good friend, Mariano Gomez, we have the steps to install the Microsoft Dynamics GP Add-in Templates into Visual Studio 2013:

Now that I have the templates available, I was able to create the projects.

I spent some time trying to get the call to Continuum working, but sadly did not have much success.  I was trying to use a technique based on Method 2 in this article by Mariano:

However, each time I added the interop.Dynamics.dll to my Visual Studio project, all the other references were broken. 

 

So, at this stage I can’t provide you with the sample code or project files.

Let me put out the challenge to the developers out there…. Can you get the ExecuteSanscript() function from Continuum working so that you can call the Dexterity code to “modify” the window?

Post in the comments if you can make it work.

Good Luck

David

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Customising the Company Login window series Part 4 – Visual Studio Tools

October 16, 2014 · David Musgrave · No Comments
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RoboCup Junior Australia 2014 National Championships

David Meego - Click for blog homepageAfter the successes of the All Saints College teams at the RoboCup Junior Australia 2014 WA State Championships, it went without saying that we would take our best teams to the National Competition in Brisbane on the 27th and 28th September.

We ended up taking our Senior Theatre (Pickle JAR Productions) and Senior Dance (The Inspector) teams as well as our top 2 Open Rescue (Sam and Me, Him & It) teams. Sadly neither of the CJs (Christopher Jack and Christopher John) were able to come due to other commitments. With eight students and their parent(s) we flew 18 people over to Brisbane for the competition. Most of the group flew over on Thursday night and we stayed at the Inn on the Park in Toowong. It is great location in close proximity to both the competition venue, the UQ Centre at the University of Queensland St Lucia campus, as well as the Brisbane CBD and South Bank areas.

After a good night’s sleep, the teams spent most of Friday working on their robots and performances, testing and fine tuning. Late in the afternoon we took some of the teams to the competition venue so they could take light readings and try out their robots on the test courses available. In the evening we went out to Brisbane’s South Bank as a group to celebrate the birthday of one of the students. We had dinner at Beastie Burgers (Visit Brisbane) and a delicious ice cream dessert from Nitrogenie (Visit Brisbane). Nitrogenie make ice cream in front of you – freezing it with liquid nitrogen, very cool (in both senses of the word). Check out the video:

Nitrogenie in Brisbane’s South Bank (Direct Link)

(Please visit the site to view this video) 

 


Rohan and Megan enjoying their ice cream

 

Saturday again started with work on the robots and performances. While Saturday is the first day of the competition, the Senior Theatre, Senior Dance and Open Rescue divisions do not compete until Sunday. After the morning working on their performance, the Pickle JAR Productions team decided they wanted a “chill” break. They had been planning this for a while, but I was only told that morning. So overruled by the majority, we drove up to Warner Bros. Movie World on the Gold Coast to spend a few hours relaxing. Not sure if you can count hurtling around after accelerating from 0 to 100kmh in 2 seconds relaxing, but it was definitely fun. Sadly because an electrical storm came in, we were not able to ride as many of the outdoor attractions and roller coasters as we had hoped. We did get to go on the Green Lantern and Superman Escape rides which were both amazing and a little scary.

 
The Pickle JAR Productions team: Noah, Megan, Josh, Rohan and Sarith

 

 
Superman Escape coaster: 0 – 100kmh in 2 seconds… whoosh

 

 
The Green Lantern coaster and storm clouds

 

Saturday evening finished with everyone watching the Riverfire Fireworks from our apartments and eating pizza. A nice relaxing day before the competition.

 

Sunday and the competition day had arrived. We all headed down to the venue for an 8:00am start. The venue at the UQ Centre is excellent as it allows all the divisions of RoboCup to be in one huge hall (Soccer, Rescue, Dance and Theatre). As the Soccer and Rescue run in conjunction with the Dance and Theatre you will hear music and other noises during the videos included below.

For Dance and Theatre, each team has two performances and a team interview. Based on the scores from the best performance and the interview, the top four teams get to perform once more in the finals to decide the top three places. Below are the best performances from our teams: 

RoboCup Junior Australia 2014 Senior Theatre National Championships – Pickle JAR Productions (Direct Link)

(Please visit the site to view this video)

 

RoboCup Junior Australia 2014 Senior Dance National Championships – The Inspector (Direct Link)

(Please visit the site to view this video)

 

While The Inspector did not get to the finals, The Pickle JAR productions team did make it through to the finals and so got to perform one more time. Then we had a long wait until the presentation ceremony at the end of the competition to find out how they placed.

Meanwhile the Rescue competition was up and running. Each team competes in 5 preliminary rounds with the lowest round being dropped. The top 8 teams then compete in two rounds, from which the top 4 are selected. The final 4 compete in two more rounds, to find the final 3. Then the final 3 teams compete on 3 courses to decide the final places. Before each round the team is allowed to select a drop zone which is an alternate start point (as long as it is at least two tiles back from the end rescue tile).

The scoring works as follows:

  • 10 points for each tile completed
  • 2 additional points for each shortcut (green square) correctly navigated
  • 10 additional points for navigating around the water tower
  • 5 additional points for each speed bump traversed, so 15 points for all three
  • 5 additional points for traversing the See Saw
  • 5 additional points for traversing the Bridge
  • 50 points for locating and lifting up the victim (can)
  • 50 points for placing the victim onto the evacuation platform (block)
  • 10 points for existing the chemical spill (green rescue tile) via the Spill Access Point (silver strip)

Teams have a maximum of 4 minute (240 seconds) to obtain as many points as possible and can restart at the beginning or at the drop zone as needed. If teams achieve the same number of points, then time becomes a factor.  So you want to obtain maximum points for the course as quick as possible without going too fast that the robot becomes unreliable.

The competition started with the preliminary five rounds, and the two All Saints Teams performed brilliantly with Me, Him and It completing every course without error. Sam completed all but one course without error. At the end of the five rounds (and after the lowest round was removed), our teams were equal first with one other team. So we were through to the top eight. To watch a couple of the qualifying rounds, please see the video playlist link below.

During the next round, the teams had to complete two courses. Me, Him and It was flawless again. Sadly Sam failed to score well after a change was made to his program, and so failed to make the top four.

As the top four robots were getting perfect scores, the organisers decide to up the ante and made one of the two courses for the next really hard by putting the see saw just before the rescue tile. This would make it very easy for a robot to overshoot the silver strip and so fail to recognise that it had reached the rescue tile. 

 
One of the finals courses with the see saw located just before the rescue tile

Here is Me, Him & It completing the two finals courses. You will note that the second course has a restart from the drop zone, this did mean that the score was perfect, but some time was lost.

RoboCup Junior Australia 2014 Open Rescue National Championships – Finals Run 1 (Direct Link)

(Please visit the site to view this video)

 

RoboCup Junior Australia 2014 Open Rescue National Championships – Finals Run 2 Part 1 (Direct Link)

(Please visit the site to view this video)

 

RoboCup Junior Australia 2014 Open Rescue National Championships – Finals Run 2 Part 2 (Direct Link

(Please visit the site to view this video) 

 

After this round Me, Him & It made it through to the Grand Final as one of the top three.  The course that was set up for the Grand Final had three interwoven courses for the robots to complete. 

 
The three Grand Finals courses interlinked. Note: the see saw was removed before the start 

 

RoboCup Junior Australia 2014 Open Rescue National Championships – Grand Final Run 1 (Direct Link)

(Please visit the site to view this video)

 

RoboCup Junior Australia 2014 Open Rescue National Championships – Grand Final Run 2 (Direct Link)

(Please visit the site to view this video)

 

RoboCup Junior Australia 2014 Open Rescue National Championships – Grand Final Run 3 (Direct Link)

(Please visit the site to view this video)

 

Me Him & It completed all the 12 rounds of the entire competition with perfect scores and with only one restart. It was also faster than most of the other robots there.

 

So now we can reveal the results from our teams that made it into the finals:

  • Team Me, Him and It (Nick and CJ) came first to win the Open Rescue division of RoboCup Junior Australia 2014.
     

     
  • Team Pickle JAR Productions (Rohan, Megan, Josh, Noah, Sarith and CJ) took third place for the Secondary Theatre division of RobCup Junior Australia 2014.
     

 

Well done to all the All Saints College teams for a great competition and for all their work leading up to it. 

 
Left to right: Disura, Pragash, Rohan, Noah, Josh, Nick, Sarith and Megan
Absent: Christopher Jack and Christopher John

 

After the competition, those of our group that were not heading straight to the airport or to other locations, had a lovely dinner at the Boatshed restaurant, which is part of the Regatta Hotel. The rest of the trip was fairly boring with a flight back to Perth on the Monday morning. Overall a very successful trip. 

For all the videos I have uploaded for the RoboCup Junior 2014 competitions (State and National) have a look at the playlists below:

 

For the previous posts on the RoboCup robotics competition see:

Enjoy  

David

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RoboCup Junior Australia 2014 National Championships

October 10, 2014 · David Musgrave · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Blogs I Follow Total Views: 129

RoboCup Junior Australia 2014 WA State Championships

David Meego - Click for blog homepageIt has been a while since my last post. I have been very busy with a number of activities (more on that in a later post). One of those activities has been this year’s RoboCup Junior Australia competition.

For the last two years I have been the mentor for the All Saints College Robotics Club. I got involved because my two sons were creating cool robots at the club, and also because I wanted to join in the fun. What is better than combining robots and Lego to build and program robots built from Lego Mindstorms NXT and the new Lego Mindstorms EV3?

Aaron finished secondary school last year and so can no longer compete in the competition, but he still comes down to the club every now and then to mentor.

Rohan has this year and next year left at the school. This year Rohan has gathered a team together (Noah, Megan, Sarith, Josh and CJ (Christopher John)) and is competing in the Secondary Theatre category as “Pickle Jar Productions”.  Secondary Dance is limited to 2 controllers and 8 motors and Rohan wanted to create more than one robot. Secondary Theatre does not have a limit on the number of controllers and motors, so you can have flexibility to create more robots.

We also have a number of other students competing from the school, including Pragash (Secondary Dance) with “The Inspector”, Nick and CJ (Christopher Jack) (Open Rescue) “Me, Him and It”, Disura (Open Rescue) “Sam”, Anthony (Open Rescue) “Boxer” and a team of Year 7 students (Janardan, Liam, Mason and Mitchell) competing for the first time (Secondary Rescue).

For more details on the RoboCup Junior Australia competition, its divisions and rules, please check out the website: RoboCup Junior Australia.

If you can remember Rohan and his team’s entry from last year, he had a dancing Teddy Bear. So this year the Ted is back (after a sex change) as Red in the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Red also has her friends Albert the Narrator and the BBW (Big Bag Wolf). For Red, while the external soft toy is the same, the mechanics of the robot are completely new. The Mindstorms NXT hardware has been replaced with Mindstorms EV3 gear. As each EV3 controller can handle one more motor now (total of 4), Red and the Wolf can have up to 8 motors with their two controllers. 

Red has the following configuration, 2 EV3 controllers with 3 motors on the base and 4 motors to control the legs, each arm and her head. The Wolf has 2 EV3 controllers with 3 motors on the base and 4 motors to control the tail, each arm and the mouth, as well as an extra motor to control the flexible spine (made with wooden vertebrae and fishing line ligaments). Albert has a NXT controller with 2 motors to control his head and 1 motor for the arms. The last robot is the butterflies (watch the video) which has a NXT controller and 3 motors.

Below are some photos of Albert, Red and the Wolf:


Albert, Red and the Wolf (with spine hunched over)

 


Albert, Red and the Wolf (with spine straightened)

 


Red and the Wolf used a Killough “Holonomic Platform” base with 3 omni wheeled motors

 

The West Australian (WA) state competition was held at Sacred Heart College on the 1st and 2nd of August 2014. All Saints College entered all the teams mentioned above for the competition with the preliminary rounds held on the first day (Friday) and the finals held on the second day. At the end of the first day, all but one of our teams had made it through to the finals. Sadly, the year 7 team finished in 9th position failing to make the top 8 by only a few points. A great effort for their first year doing robotics.

Here are some photos of the teams:


Rescue Teams and their robots

 


Pickle Jar Productions team

 


All Saints College State competitors with Donna Hatton and mentors (David and Aaron)

  

On the second day, the All Saints College teams competed in the finals for Senior Theatre, Senior Dance.  Here are some videos from the day: 

RoboCup Junior WA 2014 Senior Theatre State Championships – Pickle Jar Productions (Direct Link)

(Please visit the site to view this video) 

 

RoboCup Junior WA 2014 Senior Dance State Championships – The Inspector (Direct Link)

(Please visit the site to view this video) 

 

In the Open Rescue competition, our teams made it through from the top eight (Semi Finals) into the top four (Finals) and eventually into the top three (Grand Final). The Grand Final was three rounds to decide the final rankings for the three All Saints teams. Here are some videos from the competition showing each of the robots on the same track:

RoboCup Junior WA 2014 Open Rescue State Championships – Grand Final Run 1 – Boxer (Direct Link)

(Please visit the site to view this video)

 

RoboCup Junior WA 2014 Open Rescue State Championships – Grand Final Run 2 – Sam (Direct Link)

(Please visit the site to view this video)

 

RoboCup Junior WA 2014 Open Rescue State Championships – Grand Final Run 3 – Me, Him & It (Direct Link)

(Please visit the site to view this video)

 

So after the smoke of the competition cleared, All Saints College came away with:

  • 1st Secondary Theatre – Pickle Jar Productions
  • 1st Secondary Dance –  The Inspector
  • 1st Open Rescue – Sam
  • 2nd Open Rescue – Me, Him & It
  • 3rd Open Rescue – Boxer

A fantastic results and vindication of the hours of work that the students put into their robots and performances.

 
Anthony, Nick, CJ, Rohan, Megan, Noah, Josh, Disura and Pragash (Absent: CJ and Sarith)

Now we plan for the National competition in Brisbane on the 27th and 28th September.

For the previous posts on the RoboCup robotics competition see:

Enjoy  

David

See more here:
RoboCup Junior Australia 2014 WA State Championships

October 9, 2014 · David Musgrave · No Comments
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Support Debugging Tool Build 19 released

David Meego - Click for blog homepageIt is time to release a new build of the Support Debugging Tool for Microsoft Dynamics GP for versions 10.0, GP 2010 (v11.0) and GP 2013 (v12.0).

Build 19 primarily improves support for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 R2 as well as including some fixes and enhancements to existing features. It also adds a couple of new features.

Note: Build 19 will be the last build for Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0.

Below is a summary of the changes made for releases 10.00.0019, 11.00.0019 and 12.00.0019, I have divided them into logical sections:

Fixes

  • Fixed prompt for SQL Login showing when using Start Logging on next startup only option in Dex.ini Settings window.
  • Fixes for SQL Server 2000 Compatibility.
  • Fixed About Support Debugging Tool window Re-install button not being moved to the Ribbon when in Ribbon mode.
  • Enabled Ribbon for Helper Functions window.
  • Added four Support Debugging Tool menu items to Tools menu on the Ribbon on every window.

 

 

Enhancements

  • Added MBS_Debug_SkipVersionChecks Dex.ini setting for testing Support Debugging Tool on upcoming versions.
  • Updates to understand and handle Web Client Only users for GP 2013 R2.
  • Added option to Support Debugging Tool Feedback Survey dialog to allow for a reminder in 7 days.
  • Added Dex.ini setting to disable GP 2013 R2 Ribbons in Desktop client on a per workstation basis.

  

New Features

  • Added Procedures & Functions Mode to Resource Information window to allow identification of procedure and function scripts from logs.

  • Added Area Page View to Menu Explorer window in Resource Explorer.

 

Downloads

For downloads, please see the Support Debugging Tool Portal Page:

Support Debugging Tool Portal

 

Support Information 

The Support Debugging Tool is a custom built tool to provide additional capabilities to troubleshoot issues and is not part of the standard Microsoft Dynamics GP released application. Technical support for this tool is not handled via the standard support systems and instead is provided via the public Microsoft Dynamics GP Community Forum. You can use the link below to access the forum:

http://community.dynamics.com/forums/32.aspx

To assist the partners and Microsoft employees who monitor the forum for these questions, please prefix any subject lines with the initials “SDT: “.

 

More Information

For more information, please see the Support Debugging Tool Portal Page:

Support Debugging Tool Portal

 

Please post your feedback on what you think of this build and what you would like to see in the future.

Thanks to Terry Heley from the Microsoft Dynamics GP Support team for getting the files and PartnerSource pages updated.

Don’t forget to provide feedback via the Support Debugging Tool Feedback Survey as it helps justify the continued development of the Support Debugging Tool.

David

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Support Debugging Tool Build 19 released

September 19, 2014 · David Musgrave · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Blogs I Follow Total Views: 160

New Microsoft Dynamics GP Videos

David Meego - Click for blog homepageLast week, the Microsoft Dynamics YouTube Channel released 3 new videos for Microsoft Dynamics GP.

Below are the videos for your watching pleasure.

If you want more information on Microsoft Dynamics GP, check out the overview page:

 

Microsoft Dynamics GP Keeps People Productive (Direct Link)

(Please visit the site to view this video)

 

Microsoft Dynamics GP Turn Data into Business Insight (Direct Link)

(Please visit the site to view this video)

 

Microsoft Dynamics GP Helps You Get Started Quickly (Direct Link)

(Please visit the site to view this video)

 

Enjoy

David

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New Microsoft Dynamics GP Videos

September 18, 2014 · David Musgrave · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Blogs I Follow Total Views: 207