GP in a Test Environment

  • GP in a Test Environment

    Posted by Pam Palmer on April 5, 2017 at 9:35 am
    • Pam Palmer

      Member

      April 5, 2017 at 9:35 AM

      I want to make sure I understand what can be done in a test environment.  These questions came up during a conversation with our IT guy.

      We are currently using GP 2013R2 and have the Modifier which we have never used because of no way to test the changes without harming our “live” setup.

      If we create a test environment, this would allow us to use Modifier and test everything out before using it on our live setup, correct?

      Installing an instance of GP in a test environment does not violate any licensing issues, correct?

      I appreciate your responses.

      thank you,
      Pam

      ——————————
      Pam Palmer
      Projects/Database Admin
      Temple, Inc.
      Decatur AL
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    • Charles Allen

      Member

      April 5, 2017 at 9:37 AM

      You are correct that you can install GP in a test environment. There’s no issue with that.

      You are correct that you can use Modifier in your test environment. Once the modifications have been made, you can export them and import into the live environment.

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      Charles Allen
      Senior Managing Consultant
      BKD Technologies
      Houston, TX
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    • Matthew Arp

      Member

      April 5, 2017 at 10:02 AM

      Pam, when you modify forms or report with modifier, those modifications are not turned on by default and must be assigned to an Alternate/Modified Forms & Reports ID. While I completely agree that you can and should have a test environment, I think that not using modifier until you have test environment might be a bit overkill. Since you control the modifications with those Alternate/Modified Forms & Reports ID, it is very easy to simply put yourself in your own group and test and create modifications without fear of impacting your users.

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      Matthew Arp
      Business Systems Developer
      Hunton Group
      Houston TX
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    • David Flowers

      Member

      April 5, 2017 at 12:32 PM

      Pam,
      Having a separate test environment is great. But as the other responses said there are other ways around it.
      For Report and Forms modifications another option in your toolbelt is to make a “Testing” copy of your Dynamics.set file and point it to copies of your production *.dic files.

      1. Browse out to your GP folder. Usually it’s C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft DynamicsGP2015
      2. Find the DYNAMICS.SET file and copy it.
      3. Rename the copy to something like DYNTEST.SET, whatever will help you remember what the file is.
      4. Open the copied .SET file in Notepad. 
      5. Note where the FORMS.DIC and REPORTS.DIC files are stored. You can see this right under the line that says “Windows”. Usually the files are in C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft DynamicsGP2015Data but you might have them on a shared location depending on your setup.
      6. Browse out to wherever the ???.DIC files are stored and make a “TEST” copy of whatever dictionary file you want to modify. For example if I wanted to modify standard GP reports, I’d make a REPORTS_TEST.DIC file. If I wanted to modify a Field Service Contracts form, I’d make a FRMS949.DIC file. Or, just make a copy of the whole Data folder and use those DIC files as your Test files.
      7. While you have the test .SET file open in Notepad, edit the location or names for the test .DIC files so that the SET file will open up the test dictionaries. Then save the SET file.
      8. Make a new Shortcut file by copying your existing GP shortcut and name it something like “GP – TESTING”.
      9. Edit the Shortcut>Properties and change the Target line to reference your new DYNTEST.SET file. It should look something like this: “C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft DynamicsGP2015Dynamics.exe” DYNTEST.SET
      10. Now you have a Test environment. 
      11. When you’re ready to implement your modified Form or Report, you can export the modifications to a Package file and then Import that Package file to the production GP.

      ——————————
      David Flowers
      System Admin -GP and Salesforce Support
      RMG Enterprise Solutions
      Addison TX
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    • David Musgrave

      Member

      April 6, 2017 at 2:06 AM

      Hi Pam

      Pointing to a different location for your custom forms and reports dictionaries will work for Modifier and Report Writer changes, but does not isolate changes made using Visual Basic for Applications.

      If you want to isolate all customisations to a client, a separate installation folder is best.  You can install another instance in another folder, but you can usually get away with just copying the application folder to a new folder.  You would then need to update the DYNAMICS.SET launch file and Dex.ini settings file to adjust any reference to point to the new test application folder.

      While the use of a test company database can separate company data, if you are still using the same database instance and system database, System level changes are happening to live data.

      If you want a true test system, running a separate machine with separate SQL Server instance with copies of your live databases and its own client install is the best way to have a truly separated test system.

      If your test system is a similar spec to your live system, it can always double as a backup system for disaster recovery.

      Hope this helps

      David

      ——————————
      David Musgrave MVP, GPUG All-Star

      Managing Director
      Winthrop Development Consultants

      Perth, Western Australia

      http://www.winthropdc.com
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    • Jen Kuntz

      Member

      April 6, 2017 at 7:18 AM

      Just for the sake of clarity, when you say Test environment, if you are referring to a completely separate SQL instance as your production SQL instance, then yes. I’ve seen many situations where people are using “environment” and actually mean their test company on the same SQL instance. 

      As others have mentioned, if you are *only* using modifier (or report writer for that matter), you can just have separate dynamics.set files to point to test versions of forms or reports. As David says, this doesn’t apply if you get into other forms of customizations but a separate “environment” would ensure everything is separate. 

      Jen

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      Jen Kuntz, CPA, CGA
      Microsoft MVP, Business Solutions
      Kuntz Consulting Inc.
      Cambridge, ON, Canada
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    • Pam Palmer

      Member

      April 6, 2017 at 10:28 AM

      Thanks everyone for all your input and advice.  It’s put me a lot more at ease and now I can tell our IT guy exactly what needs to be done.

      ——————————
      Pam Palmer
      Projects/Database Admin
      Temple, Inc.
      Decatur AL
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    • Beat Bucher

      Member

      April 6, 2017 at 10:49 AM

      Hi Pam,
      One last word to all the excellent suggestions that were posted here, and since you asked also about the legal impact, you IT department will have to work this out for you, but usually setting up a separate TEST ‘environment’ means also a new SQL instance.. This doesn’t necessarily mean a new windows server, but at least your SQL Test instance needs to be separated from your PROD instance.
      The legal impact may vary depending on your enterprise licensing mode with Microsoft for SQL server.. this has become increasingly complex since a few years now.. in doubt, talk to your Microsoft reseller.

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      Beat Bucher
      Business Analyst, Dynamics GP MVP
      Ultra-Electronics Forensic Technology Inc.
      Montreal QC/Canada
      +1-514-489-4267
      @GP_Beat http://dyngpbeat.wordpress.com/
      Montreal QC GPUG Chapter Leader
      GP2013R2 / MR2012 CU14
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    • Blair Christensen

      Member

      April 6, 2017 at 12:12 PM

      In regards to licensing, Microsoft generally allows you to use its products on test servers as long as they are duplicates of production servers without additional cost.  You can always check with your account rep, but we’ve always found this to be the case.

      One of the wrinkles comes with an increasingly virtual environment, however, because while the actual test server instance may be covered, it may put you outside of the number of servers supported by the hypervisor.  It’s one of those gotchas many people overlook.

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      Blair Christensen
      Database Administrator
      Oppenheimer Companies, Inc.
      Boise ID
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    Pam Palmer replied 7 years, 3 months ago 1 Member · 0 Replies
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