The importing of data into Microsoft Dynamics GP can be a very useful tool. When using Extender in your Microsoft Dynamics GP, the likelihood that you would want to import that data is pretty high as well. So, what are the best practices for this?

Extender Imports:
Extender has an import function built into it just for data. This tool can import from comma delimited, tab delimited, Excel spreadsheet, and fixed width files. The Extender import option allows you to match up the columns to your import file and save that setup. When you are ready to run the import, you just need to browse to file and click import. The one thing to be aware of with the Extender import is that it doesn’t have a verification or error reporting process to the import. The data will be read and if it is correct, will be imported. If it is incorrect, it will be skipped and the import will move on. You will need to verify the data.

SmartConnect has all the functionality of the Extender Import and much more. SmartConnect has many more source file types for you to choose from. The other main thing SmartConnect can do is the data verification and error handling. SmartConnect will let you know if there are data issues in the import process as well as handle any errors that need to be returned to the end user. SmartConnect can run real-time if you choose with the data into and out of Extender. All of the nodes for Extender are built into SmartConnect so it will automatically pick up your resources for you and allow you to map to them.

SQL Imports:
The Extender tables are simply SQL tables and with that, data can always be imported through the SQL processes. This however is not recommended with Extender data. The Extender table structure is very complex and data corruption can occur very easily if not done correctly into all of the tables necessary for Extender. While the data may seem to display in the Extender Windows and Forms, it doesn’t always mean it is completely there. We have seen many issues with data that is imported directly through SQL, especially in the detail portion of windows and forms.

So, to wrap up, SmartConnect is the most complete option for importing data into Extender resources. The built-in Extender Import also will work if you know that your data is good and shouldn’t have any issues. SQL imports directly are not recommended.

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