Book Review: Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Reporting (Second Edition) – David Duncan & Chris Liley


My second book as reviewer is Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Reporting – Second Edition written by David Duncan and Chris Liley.

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This book is second edition to their famous Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Reporting. So those who have read this book before would see the new book as an upgrade. And that’s quite obvious as this book covers more on reporting features that are now part of Dynamics GP 2013.

The book is structured as follows:

  • Chapter 1: Meeting the Reporting Challenge
  • Chapter 2: Where Is My Data and How Do I Get It?
  • Chapter 3: Working with the Builders – SmartList and Excel Reports
  • Chapter 4: Report Writer and Word Templates
  • Chapter 5: Utilising the SSRS Report Library
  • Chapter 6: Designing Your Analysis Cubes for the Excel Environment
  • Chapter 7: Utilising Analysis Cubes for Excel for Dynamic Reporting
  • Chapter 8: Designing Financial Reports in Management Reporter
  • Chapter 9: Viewing Financial Reports in Management Reporter
  • Chapter 10: Bringing it all Together
  • Appendix: Comparing the Dynamics GP Reporting Tools Against Different Reporting Challenges

Chapter 1 discusses about challenges faced by a report developer and how to get prepared to meet them. If there is one thing that’s changing constantly at Dynamics GP front is how we visualise the data that is entered in GP day-to-day. Financial statements, revenue analyses, stock analyses, multi-dimensional analysis of your business and then there is big data which you might want to link with your own business. This chapter provides food for your thoughts on Reporting overall.

Chapter 2 discusses about how GP stores your data and how easily and efficiently you can access them. This one is, in my opinion, very crucial chapter for any GP report developer. Unless you know how GP is structured and how data is stored, you can never become a successful report developer. To quote the authors themselves: Knowing where to begin is a critical first step. This chapter shows us exactly that.

Chapter 3 discusses about SmartList Builder and Excel Reports Builder. Two most amazingly simple yet efficient tools to create any report. Excellent chapter again.

Chapter 4 discusses about Report Writer and Word Templates. Report Writer, in my opinion, is a very underestimated tool. I am sure David Musgrave would pat me to have said this. Knowing this tool would most definitely help any GP report developer to harness their knowledge on GP data and structure. Word Templates were introduced some time back and meant to be alternative to Report Writer reports. So knowing them also would be better.

Chapter 5 discusses about SSRS reports that come with GP. If your are a SQL developer and you are asked to develop some reports on GP, SSRS is THE best reporting tool. Know the data and you are on. Brilliantly written chapter.

Chapter 6 and 7 discusses about Analysis Cubes for GP. If you require multi-dimensional reports on GP data and want to know how to develop them, these chapters are for you.

Chapter 8 and 9 discusses about Management Reporter, the replacement of FRx, but much more an advanced technology. These two chapters take you step by step in understanding MR and how to design reports.

Chapter 10 summarises whatever been discussed on all previous chapters.

Appendix gives you a view of all reporting tools that are discussed in a simple yet informative table. And this book is certainly not complete without this table. Amazing piece of information one could ask for.

David and Chris have put their sincere and precious efforts on writing this book. Their expertise on reporting is going to be a guiding force through this book to all of us.

This book is published by Packt Publications. Those who would like to buy this book can do so by clicking on the link provided at the beginning of this post OR by clicking on the book logo.

To the authors, David & Chris: I thank you both for this great book and accepting me as one of the reviewers. It’s very difficult to talk about the greatness of this book in one single post, but I guess I have done my best. It’s going to be my reference on anything about GP reporting. Thanks again.

VAIDY

Report Writer Series – Custom Reports (Kuntz Consulting Inc.)


I had earlier posted about this ongoing series; not long back. To know what it is exactly, read it here: Report Writer Series.

The new post on this series discusses about how to create custom report writer reports.

VAIDY

Report Writer Series – Kuntz Consulting


Report Writer has been considered by most of the clients as static and bland reporting tool, due to it’s look & feel and it’s rigidity in terms of modifying the reports.

But, Report Writer is an amazing reporting tool, if only people know how it’s structured technically and how to bend it for our requirements. I am not certainly talking about customers. It’s the consultants’ responsibility to convince customers by demonstrating the power of Report Writer.

Over at Kuntz Consulting blog, series of posts are to be read to understand Report Writer as a tool and how to use it for our betterment. Following are the posts that are already been posted:

  1. Report Writer Demystified – Part 1 – Dictionaries & Launch Files
  2. Report Writer Demystified – Part 2 – Other Considerations
  3. Report Writer Series – Formatting Text
  4. Report Writer Series – Don’t Settle for Ugly Reports – Part 1
  5. Report Writer Series – Don’t Settle for Ugly Reports – Part 2
  6. Report Writer Series – Toolbox Tips
  7. Report Writer Series – Drawing Options Tips
  8. Report Writer Series – Sections

And it’s only going to get more on this series.

Worth reading for all those who would want to know about this silent performer, that is Report Writer.

VAIDY

Limiting Number of Records Per Page on a Crystal Report


There are several methods to achieve limiting number of records per page on a crystal report.

But this method, from a blogger named Pankaj Lalwani, seems to be very simple and effective. Check his post here: Limiting Number of Records to be Displayed on Crystal Report.

Version won’t matter in this case, since the solution what he proposes uses most common functions/operators, unless the latest version of crystal reports have an in-built settings for DETAILS section in Section Expert (which I doubt it would be).

VAIDY

Extender Fields & Report Writer – Weekly Dynamic from Mark


Those who want to know how to add/use Extender Fields on a Report Writer report, Mark’s Weekly Dynamic post, Extender and Report Writer walks us thru’ simple steps with a real time scenario.

There are also links to relevant KB articles which will form the base for your task.

VAIDY

Fiscal Year Start Date & End Date – SQL Query


I am currently working on custom SSRS dashboards performance tuning and related exercises. One task among all is to automate the Fiscal Year Start Date and Fiscal Year End Date based on which Fiscal Year we are in.

If the fiscal year is the same as calendar year, we can hard code the values to 1-Jan-[current year] and 31-Dec-[current year]. Since it’s not in my case, I had to dynamically get the dates from somewhere.

The simplest way for me is to query this from GP Fiscal Periods Setup table, which is SY40101.

Following is the query, if anyone would like to know how the dates are retrieved:

SELECT FSTFSCDY Fiscal_Start_Date,

LSTFSCDY Fiscal_End_Date

FROM SY40101 

WHERE YEAR1 = CASE WHEN MONTH(GETDATE()) >= [first month of your company fiscal yearTHEN YEAR(GETDATE()) ELSE YEAR(GETDATE()) – 1 END

With above, I can now be rest assured that by the time a new fiscal year is started, my dashboards would automatically get refreshed with new start & end dates.

This query would also work if the fiscal year is as good as the calendar year.

VAIDY

Who uses BI? – Dwight Specht


This one’s an awesomely simple yet on-the-dot post, which I read today. I am not going to brief about this post and I leave it to you read it fully, understand what exactly it wants us to learn.

Here is the post, written by Dwight Specht: Who uses BI?

I myself am working on BI reports, a lot, nowadays and posts such as this only add to my constant improvement.

Special thanks to Dwight.

VAIDY

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 – Reporting (By David Duncan & Christopher Liley)


I just added one more treasure on my kit, in the form of a new book called Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 – Reporting, written by David Duncan (I.B.I.S.) and Christopher Liley (I.B.I.S.), published by Packt Publishing.

I have started reading this book from today and hopefully in a week, I will be able to grab hold of the vast set of chapters.

To give you an overview of what is there inside this book: The book covers everything “reporting” in GP. From Report Writer reports to Smartlist to Excel Reports to SSRS to Analysis Cubes to Management Reporter. Every single thing about GP Reporting.

However, the book does not talk about two things:

1. Crystal Reports and the way you can access crystal reports from GP quite understandably because Crystal Reports is NOT supported out of the box by Dynamics GP. It can be used with the help some 3rd Party solutions, such as GP Report Viewer (from Flexible Solutions) or even a simple code piece written by any Consultant who knows GP, Crystal Reporting and .NET coding.

2. FRx, as this is already been replaced by Management Reporter. There is of course a section in this book where the difference between FRx and Management Reporter is explained.

I shall be writing a review of this book in a week’s time (hopefully). Just could not wait to tell you all that this book really going to be a great treasure for those who wants to understand how effectively GP data can be visualized and analyzed.

Until next post.

VAIDY

Microsoft Dynamics GP2010 R2 – SSRS BI maxRequestLength Error


Another one, luckily Mohammad R. Daoud has got an answer to this issue.

Once GP2010 R2 installation is over and GP Utilities start configuring system, almost the last setup is SRS Reports Deployment wizard. It’s a welcome change from previous versions, as this one is more explanatory and clear.

Once it starts deploying reports, the following error message is thrown:

The message is self-explanatory on what needs to be done to get rid of this message. To understand how to find WEB.CONFIG file, read Mohammad R. Daoud’s post; Dynamics GP 2010 R2 Business Intelligence Installation Error maxRequestLength.
Thanks Daoud. It was really helpful.
VAIDY

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 R2 – SRS Reports Deployment Error


Everyone knows that GP2010 R2 got released well before it’s announced date (1st May 2011). And I was no exception in starting off with it.

I installed GP 2010 R2 on my laptop and it went thru’ merrily. And started off with deploying SSRS and Excel Reports. Below is the error message I am getting:

Reason: I am running SQL Server 2008 R2 Express. For some reason, SRS deployment do not recognize SQL Server Express editions and it requires either Standard or Enterprise.
So people, those who would wish to deploy SRS on SQL Server 2008 R2 Express, please do not.
VAIDY