Update (October 4th, 2016): This post was written on Acumatica 4.2, but things have changed since Acumatica 4.2. To see this done in the latest version of Acumatica, checkout this post by Mark Franks.
Michael Coman provided another great Acumatica learning experience for me. The last one was related to creating a Project Quote (click here). This time he responded to a post on this blog and asked a question about adding new fields to existing screens in Acumatica (click here).
At first I didn’t want to get distracted from what I’m doing with reporting in Microsoft Excel directly on the Acumatica database, but eventually I realized that a real-world example is too good to pass up.
It’s just a lot more fun when you are learning something that you know will actually be useful to someone. So, I put on my PAL hat and went to work learning how to do this. The result is the video at the bottom of this post.
So here is my take on Acumatica customization. There are two routes: the geeky programmer route and the regular person route. I don’t want to go the geeky programmer route because that just isn’t my skillset and I don’t want to get sucked into a full-blown software development project. There is definitely the need for geeky programming if you want to create robust ISV (Independent Software Vendor) solutions like JAAS did with JAMS Manufacturing (click here) or Accounting System Integrators, LLC did with NonProfitPlus (click here). However, if you just want to add a field to a screen, you don’t want to have to be a programming professional.
Fortunately for us regular people, Acumatica had us in mind when they were building the Acumatica platform. You can easily create what I call ad-hoc customizations (that’s not official terminology) within the Acumatica application. So you don’t need any special geeky programming software, just the same web browser that you normally use to access Acumatica.
It’s actually pretty cool that you can do this. No ERP software will ever fit your business perfectly, so it’s nice to be able to add in some of the missing pieces on-the-fly by yourself without having to hire a team of programmers. Of course, this doesn’t eliminate the need for the geeky programmers.
There will always be the need for programmers to build more robust solutions like Acumatica itself. But it’s nice to know that us regular people don’t have our hands completely tied. We can play in the customization game too!
A word about Drop-Down Lists (combo boxes)
I keep thinking to myself, “there is probably a better way to do this, but I’m not sure what it is yet.” It was pretty intuitive to figure out how to add a drop-down list using the graphical menu. The part that was tricky was how to populate the list of values that are allowed in the list. After some poking around, it looked to me like I would need to add something to the Attributes… of my custom field, but I wasn’t exactly sure what that should be. After some further poking around, I was able to find this (highlight added for emphasis) on page 63 of the BasicClass.pdf document (click here for the document).
Originally I was trying to add a radio button, but I eventually abandoned the idea of a radio button and went with a drop-down list since it’s close enough. Note: in the video I mention that I’m not sure how to use GroupBox, but after some further learning I think that GroupBox is what is needed to make a radio button. It looked more complicated though so I’ll have to look at it another time.