Friday, October 29, 2010

Hi, My Name Is Christina And I Actually LIKE Modifier

It is a universal truth that we people are complainers.  We complain about missing functionality here, broken functionality there, and it seems like we are never happy with the tools we have.  Call it perfectionism, call is realism, I am as guilty of it as the next person.

But this week I was reminded of the usefulness of Modifier, a tool that is often lumped in with Report Writer as having limited usefulness and causing frustration.  I think, as is often the case, the devil is in the details.  Proper scoping initially can ensure the proper development tool is selected for the project.  And for this project, the use of Modifier decreased the cost and maintainance of a previous Dexterity based customization.

When I was initially given the Dexterity customization to review, I noticed how basic it was.  Literally 6 modified windows, all based on existing GP windows.  No reports.  No procedures.  Nothing else.  And no source code, meaning that whatever road we took it would most likely involve recreating the customization.  In looking at the modified windows, the modifications we all cosmetic.  Changing the displayed size of fields (not the field itself) and rearranging headers.  I am sure the developer bloggers out there can add to my impression, but it seems to me that someone knew Dexterity so that is what they reached for as a tool.  Not the worst reason to pick a customization tool, but definitely not the only factor to consider. 

So, based on the fact that the modifications were cosmetic, Modifier was my tool of choice.  Easy to use, I modified the 6 windows quickly and easily.  No concerns about source code, additional dictionaries to install, etc.  No Dexterity (not that Dex is bad, but it does mean involving a developer each time)  And when it comes to upgrades, the process is fairly simple.  And, if the window changes and upgrading is not possible, it is easy enough to recreate now that we have documentation of the customization.

I recognize that Modifier may not be the best choice when getting in to heavy customization, but for cosmetic adjustments it works just great.  And with Business Ready Licensing, clients don't even have to own Modifier to run the modifications you create.  They just need the Customization Site License which is part of BRL. 

So the lesson here, I think, is pick the right tool for the job and save the client money while saving time now and in the future.  I know I have cited this white paper before, but Choosing A Development Tool is a worthwhile read for both consultants and customers who want to take ownership of their development projects.

1 comment:

David Musgrave said...

Hi My Name is David and I Love Modifier.

There any many things that Modifier can do that is not possible with Visual Studio Tools or Dexterity.

For example: It is the only tool which can modify a third party product window.

For lots of cool Modifier related stuff, check out