Access Accounting is committed to delivering high-quality
business solutions through a dedicated and fully accredited
reseller channel. We build win:win relationships with
consultancy-style dealers who can provide substantial added-
value to the standard software.
The Access product range is continually enhanced and
expanded, to meet the challenges of changing marketplaces
and new legislation, and to gain the full benefits of emergent
‘mainstream’ technologies. This ensures that Access resellers
and end-users stay one step ahead of the competition.
The Access SDK is designed to maximise reseller opportunity,
while simultaneously providing exceptional value for the end-
user. It is designed to help resellers provide custom solutions
easily and profitably while keeping their end-users in the current
version of standard software.
Access Accounting Ltd
The Old School Stratford St Mary
Colchester Essex CO7 6LZ United Kingdom
Phone 0845 345 3300 or +44 1206 322575
Fax 01206 322 956
All Access Accounts sof tware is supplied and supported by a national network of
Specialist Centres and worldwide partners.
REF : SDK01 All trademarks are acknowledged. E&OE
SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS KIT
the way you need it
the complete solution...
A customer’s perspective
My company has grown organically, in response to the
many challenges of the manufacturing industry. I’ve ended up
with a diverse and in many ways unique business operation – and I
want a solution that can handle this. It needs, for example, to be
integrated 100% with my order processing system.
Call me demanding, but I don’t want the expense and complications of
a custom system. And I certainly don’t want staff constantly moving
between different applications. I’m looking for a single, cost-
effective solution that does exactly what I want and can be
updated easily as my requirements change... and with
the latest versions of the standard software, as
soon as they are released.
A developer’s perspective
I want to customise the Dimensions system.
What development languages are available? Ideally,
I’d like to use XML, VB and VB.NET, C# and J#,
Delphi, Java, Visual Studio, ASP and ASP.NET, MS
Access, Excel… basically, all of the languages
that support COM.
Is this possible?
Contents This brochure highlights the tools available for
customisation of standard Access Accounts software to
4-7 GUI API the specific needs of individual clients. It shows you how to
deliver tailored solutions quickly and easily, without
Changing the Dimensions graphical user interface
impacting upon the basic structure, security or integrity of
the core software.
8 COM API
Interfacing applications to Dimensions By bringing together a range of new and existing tools for
customisation, the Software Developersg’ Kit enables you
to build on the underlying flexibility of all Access Accounts
9 Database API solutions. Although the emphasis is upon SQL software
SQL programmers interface to the Dimensions database (Dimensions and DimensionsLite), many elements of the
SDK also apply to LAN solutions (Horizons and
9 Transaction Broker FoundationsXP).
Database integrator for all Access solutions
For users, the benefits of customisation are enormous.
Aside from enhancing productivity and reducing
10 Dimensions.NET API unnecessary errors – major advantages in themselves –
Customisable browser interface for Dimensions customisation brings a sense of instant ‘familiarity’. This
helps to minimise training costs and greatly reduces the
likelihood of user rejection.
11 Business Intelligence
XML delivery of critical information for all Access solutions
Value Added Opportunities
for Accredited Resellers
11 Microsoft Add-ins
2-way integration with Microsoft Office for all Access solutions • Benefit of a custom environment
• Security of standard software
11 Documents & Management Reports • Comfort of your favourite development language
250 Crystal templates for all Access solutions • Backing of a proven brand
• Opportunity of a mass market
CHANGING THE DIMENSIONS When all the custom
modifications are installed the
GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACE screen below will still be
1 completely standard. This means
A typical user requirement:
A typical user requirement:
you can upgrade the customer
To subtly modify a transaction screen, while retaining all Hide the button that to every new release
its flexibility. activates the standard
SDK price-matrix within
This user has a complex date-based price matrix, Dimensions.
maintained in an external database. These five simple
steps show how this requirement can be met.
Detect when the cursor
leaves the quantity field. Then
use a combination of customer
code, product code, date and
quantity to select and display
qualifying products from a
This table could be generated in range of different
almost any database application,
including MS Access, Delphi, VB,
and SQL Server, or in an MS
Write the value of
the selected item back
into the Dimensions
Integrate 3rd party TOOLKIT
mapping solution to
display location of
All I want is…
How many times has a client (or potential client) asked for just
a fraction more than the standard system can offer? It’s only
natural for businesses to want all the comfort, security and
feature-rich flexibility of the standard software… but with that
little bit extra.
Writing completely new entry screens is impractical, given the
number of standard features they need. And the client will
also want to take advantage of any updates to the standard
software… all within a limited time-scale and tightly controlled
There is a simple answer
With the SDK:
• You do not have to change a single line of Dimensions code
• You can win the sale, add value and build stronger ties with
• Your modification appears to be an integral part of
Dimensions, yet it can be developed using VB, C#, Delphi
4 and a host of other COM compliant languages
Disable the discount, • Your customisations work immediately with updated
discount percentage and versions of Dimensions... and you do not have to update
total discount fields. This will your code to suit.
prevent the operator from
inadvertently breaking the This is a profitable way to deliver exactly what your
business rules of the customer wants.
CHANGING THE DIMENSIONS An example of VB script
GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACE
TOOLKIT A profitable environment
A profitable environment When all the custom
modifications are installed the
In the diagram. steps 1 to 4 show just how easily 1 screen below will still be
custom solutions can be developed. completely standard. This
SDK This illustrates the means you can upgrade the
The screenshot for steps A and B shows the Access API code required to pop-up customer to every new release
Spy facility. It illustrates how you can quickly identify the a custom price matrix
format and field names required in your custom code. when the cursor leaves
the quantity field.
The data can be
stored in anything
from Excel to a
The selection of
available matrix prices is
displayed in the new pop-
up window, which can be
styled to compliment
The Access API Spy
Using the API Spy you
can click anywhere in GUI API
the live software to TOOLKIT
display its programming
GUI API Toolkit
The toolkit provides instant information on the file names, window formats
and field names required to write new code. It includes the following:
B • Log on / off • Auto launch custom
application and log on from
Click on a field in • Screen opens / closes within Dimensions
the live application to
view its programming • Enter / close field
• Auto launch Dimensions
name and log on from within
• Log on returns user ID and
provides ADO connection
Methods to grant permission as if
• Add toolbar the user were within
• Create button referential integrity
• Edit / Hide / Disable field
An example of VB script • Log on returns WIN API
• Save hWnd reference to
Dimensions - option to run
• Force navigation invisibly in the background
Your code is kept completely separate from Dimensions, yet from the
This is the code user’s viewpoint it forms an integral part of the system. Now you and
required to write the your clients can have the best of both worlds, with a custom solution that
selected value back is easy to maintain, economical to run and incredibly secure.
TOOLKIT A typical user requirement:
A typical user requirement: COM API Toolkit
To accommodate a highly specialised process using a This toolkit provides:
completely bespoke entry screen.
SDK Methods Properties
In this example the user is a PC manufacturer. The sales • Retrieve • Data dictionary for every field
order entry screen must lead staff through the logical
sequence of steps needed to price the components of • Descriptions for entire
a ‘made to measure’ PC. • Save dictionary
• Every field from every record
• Look up selection lists
• For all static data:
every record type
Create customer • Popular transaction types
object list and
select customer The task of creating a custom
transaction entry screen is hugely
simplified when it is built as the front
end of a standard accounts system.
You simply call Dimensions COM
objects into your chosen
Create product This is an illustration of Data integrity and compliance with
object list and a totally bespoke business rules is assured, as the
select product transaction screen that resulting updates are passed through
integrates fully with the Dimensions database API.
Call ‘save’ method
Database API Transaction Broker
SQL programmers’ interface to the Dimensions database Database integrator for all Access solutions Transaction
The Dimensions Database API enables SQL programmers to This configurable application sits between Access
interface third party applications directly into the accounts Accounts and third party data sources as a non-
database, with minimum effort and maximum security. programming interface to the API. It poles the third party
data source for new transactions (or records) and, once
Transactions and records can be presented to the API using available, collects and delivers them into Access as if they
the simplest flat file format. Stored procedures and triggers had been keyed in directly. Incoming transactions are
validate the data and update every relevant part of the validated in the normal way and seamlessly update all
system. Using this method, integration is straight-forward relevant parts of the system.
and system integrity is totally assured.
Transaction Broker provides fast and easy integration for any
A single flat file entry into the API can update as many as 40 transaction type, resulting in a highly cost-effective solution.
Dimensions data tables, bringing processing speeds of up to Data sources can include virtually any ODBC complaint
50,000 orders per hour. database, even e-mail applications.
fast and easy integration
for any transaction type,
resulting in a highly cost-
A single flat file entry
into the API can update
as many as 40
Dimensions data tables.
INTERFACE FOR DIMENSIONS
TOOLKIT A typical user requirement:
A typical user requirement:
A totally bespoke solution that requires changing the Copy a
look and feel of the software. transaction form
as a template
When you need to re-arrange every field to produce Dimensions.NET API
forms with their own corporate style, then the .NET API Customisable browser interface for Dimensions
provides a total solution.
The .NET developers’ toolkit includes the complete source
code for the vast majority of Dimensions (and DimensionsLite)
record and transaction entry screens. It provides the ideal
environment for creating bespoke forms. Studio.NET
Hide or developers are given complete control over the graphical
reposition user interface, while the integrity of the system is protected by
fields the business rules in the Dimensions Database API.
Your clients can use bespoke forms to provide their own
Add and customers with secure ‘self-service’ order placement. Here,
remove on-line forms may be tailored to the specific requirements of
fields each and every trading relationship, streamlining transactions
and reinforcing the client’s own business rules.
Every form has hooks that enable developers to divert into a
different process or screen as part of a custom solution. For
example, when entering a new customer the user may wish
to access a web service of postcodes, to validate and return
the customer’s address. Customisation opportunities are
unlimited and include:
.NET API Toolkit
Change • Copy templates
Initiate hooks colour of any • Change colour of:
to 3rd party part of the form data / backgrounds / labels / fields / menus
Change font • Change fonts, styles and sizes
• Add logos and graphics
web services Add a logo style, colour and
• Add / remove fields
background to size
• Hide / reposition fields
part of the • Initiate hooks to:
10 screen third party applications / databases / web services
MADE EASY Reporting
Business Intelligence Documents &
XML delivery of critical information for all Access solutions Management Reports
250 Crystal templates for all Access solutions
The configurator module provides control over the querying,
sorting, drill-down, graphing, delivery and content options in Crystal developers can have complete access to this huge
Executive Desktop. It enables XML developers to modify the library of Crystal formats, all of which can be changed or
presentation and structure of Executive Summaries and their duplicated to meet new reporting requirements. Custom
associated Smart Tags. Existing views can be used as forms, documents and reports can be added to the standard
templates to create new views, which then appear within Access Accounts menus.
standard menus. Summaries can be structured to
consolidate information held across multiple databases, A full data dictionary and detailed descriptions make working
including third party applications. in this environment productive and profitable.
2-way integration with Microsoft Office for all Access solutions
Add-in technology allows users to pull and push information
between Access Accounts and MS Office (Excel, Project &
Word). Developers can easily construct custom solutions to
meet specific user requirements. For example, an Excel
spreadsheet that reviews product margins, enabling the user
to quickly set new margins and update all affected product
lines with a single click.
Horizons (and FoundationsXP) add-ins are constructed in VBA.
Dimensions (and DimensionsLite) add-ins are constructed in
VBA and COM. Developers can use standard add-ins as
templates for their own custom work.
The Access SDK uses 3rd party solutions. Access acknowledges all trademarks and copyrights.