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SDK Brochure - SDK v4.qxd


									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
                      S                K
                      SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS KIT

the way you need it
Access SDK
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.
    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
                        Excel spreadsheet.


                                                                                                                                   Write the value of
                                                                                                                               the selected item back
                                                                                                                                 into the Dimensions
                                                                                                                                      sales order.


                                                                                                                              GUI API
                                   Integrate 3rd party                                                                        TOOLKIT
                                   mapping solution to
                                    display location of
                                   selected customer.
                                                          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 clients

                                                          • 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
    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
6                                                                                                                         Dimensions
                                             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:

                                                                                Events                               Properties
                                                       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
                                                                                                                        custom application

                                                                                                                      • Log on returns user ID and
                                                                                                                        provides ADO connection
                                                                               Methods                                  to grant permission as if
                                                                                • Add toolbar                           the user were within
                                                                                                                        Dimensions, providing
                                                                                • 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.
  into Dimensions
    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
                                                                                               • Create
              sequence of steps needed to price the components of                                                               • Descriptions for entire
              a ‘made to measure’ PC.                                                          • Save                             dictionary
                                                                                               • Delete
                                                                                                                                • Every field from every record

                                 Display                                                                                        Objects
                                                                                                                                • Look up selection lists
                                                                                                                                • For all static data:
                                                                                                                                   nominal accounts
                                                                                                                                   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
                                                                                                                               development environment.

                          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.
                                                                                                  standard Dimensions.
                                                                         Call ‘save’ method
                                                  Display multiple
                                                                             which posts
                                                 product properties
                                                                          transaction using
                                                                           Dimensions API
                                                                            business rules
                                                                                                                                              Database API
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
                                                                                                                                              SDK        TOOLKIT

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-
                                                                                                                effective solution

                               A single flat file entry
                               into the API can update
                               as many as 40
                               Dimensions data tables.
 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
         applications and
                                                                                                                               • 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
                                                                                                                                                         CUSTOM REPORTING
                                                                                                                                                               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.

Microsoft Add-Ins
2-way integration with Microsoft Office for all Access solutions

                                                                                                                              crystal decisions
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
                                                                                                                                 eXtensible Markup
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.

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