Onboarding New Acumatica Developers

Mark Franks | June 6, 2019

Getting Developers up to speed on a new platform can be hastened with the right resources and a clear roadmap for success.  We offer a simple roadmap for new Acumatica Developers, guiding them along the way to successfully build great solutions for their company and customers.

Over the past four years, nurturing our Developer Community has been a wonderful experience for me. Recently, I had a couple of calls with fairly new partners discussing their efforts to get up to speed on our developer platform. I realized after my discussions that the labor we have been engaged in building – our resources and content for developers – has matured to the point where it has produced some really good fruit for our audience to consume. I received a lot great feedback in these calls and was able to direct them to a number of resources available for their developers that they were not aware existed.

After these calls, I was inspired to produce this post as a sort of compendium for onboarding developers new to our platform.  A guide they can use to make the best use of their time and effort as they get up to speed on the Acumatica xRP platform.

We just recently published a Quick-Start Guide for Developers which provides concise step-by-step instructions in getting an Acumatica developer environment up quickly and running so they can start their development efforts in earnest.  This new guide is really the first step any new developer should take to get started.  Below, is an outline of all our developer-focused content the new developer and not-so-new developer should know about.

There are several ways we share information to help developers build solutions on the Acumatica xRP platform:

As you will find, there are quite a number of materials to wade through.  For the new developer, this can be a bit overwhelming.  Therefore, how should a developer new to Acumatica proceed efficiently?

Install a Developer Instance of Acumatica

The first step should be installing a developer environment and going through the T-series & I-series of online training courses.  As described in the Quick-Start Guide for Developers, whatever the application solution that interacts with Acumatica you are planning to implement, you should first deploy a developer instance of Acumatica. For this purpose, your development environment will require Microsoft IIS, preferably installed locally, or somewhere you would have full control over IIS and the file system.  Additionally, you will require a database server – a version of Microsoft SQL Server or MySQL Server, where you have administrative rights. Please refer to Preparing for Installing Acumatica ERP section of the installation guide for details. It’s important to follow the Quick-Start guide which streamlines the process for developers, as the Installation Guide is rather IT-centric and geared more toward VARs.

Even though you may not have access to the Acumatica Portal, you can still install a fully functional instance of Acumatica by going through the T-100 course training.  We encourage companies who are not yet partners or customers to go through some training to learn more about the platform as well as their developers to help with the due diligence process by learning as much as possible about our developer platform and the xRP Framework.  Beginning with the T-100 Course (an introduction to the Acumatica Framework), following through with the other training, and perusing the many resources we provide developers. This will help cement any decision on moving forward with partnering with Acumatica.

Once a new developer gets their feet wet by completing the T-100 course – they will understand the key components of the Acumatica platform and their usage for typical tasks in application development. They will have gone through the process of developing a complete business application which will give them an idea of how to develop their own applications by using the Acumatica Framework.  Having this base understanding, the new developer has a number of options.  Depending on whether you intend to build an application from scratch or integrate with existing applications, the developer can move to more advanced training in the former case or continue with the I-series courses.

Developer Paths

We offer two training paths for developers – one for integration developers and one for framework application developers.  Additionally, we have courses covering the Mobile Framework as well that have been added recently.

For developers who are looking for ways to integrate existing applications, they should start with the I-300 course, which covers the basic techniques of data retrieval through the Acumatica ERP OData interface and web services APIs and proceed through the series: I-310 – advanced web services and I-320 – data manipulation.  For details see the Acumatica developer-focused training page.

For those developers who will work on building additional functionality into the base product or building embedded applications, they should continue with the T-series courses which will advance their knowledge of the Framework as well as specific customization topics.

Documentation Resources

We have a number of guides in PDF format that are useful references for developers.  These guides are aimed for specific audiences and are topical in nature.  Here is a list of the developer guides and respective links to the versions available as of this publication date:

For the most up-to-date list, go to our Resources page.

Getting Assistance

Concurrent with the training, the new developer can get help on various issues they are surely to run into over time.  Of course, as engineers they likely will try to solve the particular issue they are having on their own. The documentation we offer is rather comprehensive and is available to everyone online via the Acumatica product help menu, online help system, and various product and developer guides enumerated above.

Once they have exhausted these resources, they can post a question on our Stackoverflow forum which our support staff monitor along with a number of Acumatica community developers around the world.  They can first search the questions on Stackoverflow to see if the question has been answered previously. If not, they can ask the question in the forum for someone to answer from our developer community.  If you are a partner and have ADN Level 2 support, you can open up a case with us on our portal.  You can also access our knowledge-base on there as well.

Attend Developer Events

We offer a number of live events both in-person and remotely that are intended to provide updates on the developer platform, address advanced topics, and provide best practices from both our internal developers and support people as well as members of our developer MVPs.

Summit Hackathon & Developer Track

We have been running hackathons at our annual Acumatica Summit over the past three years — and a developer track for developers over the past two years.  This is a chance for our developer community to work with Acumatica subject matter experts and build solutions together as well as network with the community and form lasting relationships.  The code produced from the event is published to GitHub and is a great resource for jump starting open-source projects and also providing a repository of code samples that can be used in your development efforts.  Nothing like coding examples to vivify your development projects.  You can read the following recaps of the hackathons held in 2017, 2018, and 2019.  For access to repositories from past hackathons, visit the Acumatica Hackathon GitHub  page.

The developer track occupies two days of the Acumatica Summit and offers in-depth developer sessions as well as 10-12 minute quick-hitting Lightning sessions, modeled after the popular TedTalks.  This past year we added a general developer session, hosted by Ajoy Krishnamoorthy, VP of Platform & Technology and Head of Construction division along with Mike Chtchelkonogov, Founder & Chief Technology Officer  where we shared our Developer Roadmap and demonstrated a number of new technologies. You can get a summary of the event in my post: Acumatica Summit 2019 – All Things Developer!

Virtual Developer Conference

The virtual developer conference provides developers with fresh new content half way through the year in the comfort of their office or home.  We record the event in full in case there’s a conflict with vacations during the month of June and to provide attendees an opportunity to re-watch sessions.  You can view these sessions from 2017 and 2018 events after filling out a simple contact form.  The event is two half-days, with a mix of 30 and 60 minute presentations.  In the past we have had covered advanced developer topics where we shared Acumatica Developer Tips & Tricks and Developer Black-belt sessions.  We have covered the Framework and web services integration to level everyone up or provide a review for experienced developers on our platform.  We also update our developer community on our developer roadmap, presented by our developer & product leadership.

In both the Developer Track sessions and  Virtual DevCon sessions we always strive to provide new topics and rarely if ever repeat content.  At this year’s conference, being held later this month, we have even updated our xRP Framework session that has changed little in content and format – save the necessary updates that have occurred over the years.  Sergey Marenich, one of our more celebrated developers, has taken on the task of re-imagining the session for our developer audience.  To learn more about the conference, go to our Virtual Developer Conference landing page.

Developer Webinar Series

This year we started a new series of webinars for developers which we held this past February & March to give developers an update on how the newly released Acumatica 2019-R1 product affects current and future development projects, etc. We demonstrated a number of new features we delivered in the new release and discussed how the code and the new features have been implemented as well as offered a number of developer best practices. We always want to ensure that our developer community is up-to-date and informed about current and future improvements and the impact that these features and changes may have – including possibly breaking existing code implementations.  To see the topics covered and view the recorded presentations, visit our Webinar page.

As the year progresses, after the Virtual Developer Conference is concluded, you can expect new developer webinars will be announced and delivered and made available.  If you miss any of them, we’ll make sure we record them for you.

Developer Blog

Lots of little useful developer nuggets exist in our Developer Blog.  For example, the Quick-Start Developer Guide was delivered as a blog post, not a PDF guide as the other developer guides.  Besides this useful guide, we have written about a number of topics over the years that remain useful for developers as reference and “how-to” material. We have integrated posts from our Developer MVPs over the past two years.  A couple of popular posts I wrote when I first started working here is still used and referenced: Customization – Creating and Validating Fields in Acumatica Cloud ERP  and Acumatica Customization: Theming & White Labeling. Other notable posts that would be useful to new developers include:

and some of the Guest posts from our Developer MVPs are top notch:

Each of the above guest posts have sample code you can use in your own development projects.  For reading more of these guest posts, just type “Guest” in the search field of the blog landing page.  I will return a comprehensive list of all of the guest posts that have been written over the years.

Lastly, before I conclude this post, I would like to point out another excellent resource for current or former Sage 100 developers. One of our MVPs, Joe Jacob, wrote a nice developer guide which I previewed in a blog post for download:  Dynamics SL SDK to xRP Framework.

These are just a few of the many useful posts written for our developer community.

Other Resources

Besides the resources discussed above, we have recorded many of the events that have taken place over the past three years which you will not necessarily find in the Video section of the website.  Some of these can be found in a particular event page, post event.  you will be directed to the list of sessions on the landing page of the event or simply be asked to click on a link.  For example for the Virtual Developer Conference or Developer Webinar series I discuss above you will see some text that tells you were to view the recorded sessions.  Sometimes, I embed a video in a Blog post, then later will have them linked in the Videos section of the website.  Any new resources will be announced via my Twitter account.  So please follow me @MvF_Evangelista.  You will be notified of any new content we publish or get early announcements of any upcoming events. 95% of my post are related to our developer community – no memes or politics, I promise.

Conclusion

As you can see from reading this post, we have a lot of really great content for developers – both for newbies and seasoned Acumatica developers alike.  Our goal is always to produce new, fresh, and timely content you can use to help you be the best developer possible on our platform.  We love our developer community and try to show our love by sharing with them everything they need to know to be successful. I am confident you will enjoy the process of building applications and integrations using our development platform and hopefully be inspired to do your best work — building great solutions for your company and your customers.

Should you have any questions or any feedback, please feel free to contact me – mfranks@acumatica.com.

Happy coding!

Mark Franks

Platform Evangelist at Acumatica. Mark is responsible for showing people the specifics about what makes Acumatica’s Cloud Development Plaform wonderfully attractive to ISV & Partners. He's also passionate about Running, Latin, and his family.

Categories: Developers

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