Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Think about the client or end user

Sometimes we become so accustomed to things in "GP Land" that we forget that we are living in our own alternate universe with its own principles and laws and mechanics. When we forget this, it causes us to forget that our clients and end users don't necessarily live in this Dynamics GP universe. This means that they often have different concerns than what we have become accustomed to.

I recently developed an integration that would export Purchase Orders from Dynamics GP and send them to 3rd party warehouses for receiving inventory.

The files needed to go to different companies in either CSV or XML format, via e-mail and via FTP. I felt that I was very thorough in my development, following the warehouse specifications closely and making sure to be flexible and thorough in my development. The integration worked great, and I felt pretty good about the solution.

The client went live with the export today, and not long after the first CSV file was automatically e-mailed across the country, I received a concerned e-mail from the client asking "What is the strange line number in the PO file?".

The XML file specifications had simply requested a "unique" line number for each PO line, so I just (absentmindedly) defaulted to the standard GP line sequence number which is multiples of 16,384. The CSV file format wasn't specific, so I used the line sequence for it as well, assuming it would be imported into another system.

Apparently there is a person in the 3rd party warehouse that opens the CSV file and reviews it manually, and the first question was "What's wrong with your line numbers???". The client then e-mailed me, concerned about this bizarre series of numbers where a "PO line number" should be located.

I guess that I have become so used to the magic 16384 line sequence number that I no longer even notice it, like the folks in The Matrix effortlessly reading the green blips raining down their monitors.

(Can't you see Neo and Trinity jumping out of the window? Or is that a spoon?)

But for the folks in the warehouse, 114688 is meaningless. They care about line 1, line 2, line 3, etc.

It only took me a few minutes to modify the exports to use the LineNumber field in the PO10110 table, so it was an easy fix, but it reminded me that I sometimes forget that the strange rules and logic of GP Land don't always apply to the rest of the world.

For more exciting reading about the adored Dynamics GP Line Sequence Number, check out Mariano's great series of posts on the subject.

Microsoft Dynamics GP Scrolling Windows and Line Sequence Numbers

Is there a maximum number of lines that can be inserted in any given scrolling window?

How to find the line number of an item on a Microsoft Dynamics GP document - Part 1

How to find the line number of an item on a Microsoft Dynamics GP document - Part 2

1 comment:

Mariano Gomez said...


I truly enjoyed this Matrix-like cautionary tale. As geeky as I am sometimes, it's easy to forget that clients do live in the "Real World" and that maybe we should take the red pill and wake up.

Thanks for the references to the articles.