During one of my presentations at Acumatica Summit 2017, entitled Business Intelligence for Business Leaders, I mentioned, “Inspect Element is your Best Friend”.
Click here for the slides and other information from that presentation.
But, what did I mean by “Inspect Element is your Best Friend”?
In older ERP systems, reporting on data in the database was much more difficult than it is in Acumatica.
Why? Because you had to hunt and peck to find the tables and the fields where the data resides. The front-end screens where the data entry happens are always nice and shiny looking. They have pleasant, human-readable names (at least most of the time). But the back-end database tables are less friendly, cold, and uninviting things that were created by hardcore developers who make Sparta look like Summer Camp.
Bridging the gap between the front-end and back-end is always a challenge in older ERP systems. Once you hunt and peck to find the field in the database, you usually want to verify by changing some data in the front-end, saving, and confirming that the data in that field did indeed change on the back-end. And you have to do that for EVERY field, one by one.
Then, sometimes, the back-end field has a name that isn’t even remotely related to the front-end field name. This always happens because ERP software is created over years (even decades), developers come and go (each with varying opinions on things), and there inevitably always winds up being some amount of “disconnect” between the front-end field names and the back-end database field names.
This is why inspect element is your best friend.
Let’s take the Invoices and Memos (AR301000) screen in Acumatica for example.
And let’s say that I want to find the database table names and field names for the two fields highlighted in red above.
First, you need to be a member of the Customizer security role which you can find on the Users (SM201010) screen in Acumatica.
As long as you are a member of the Customizer security role, you should see the CUSTOMIZATION button in the upper right-hand corner of every data entry screen.
If you click on the CUSTOMIZATION button, then you will see your best friend, the Inspect Element button!
Also, it’s good to note the keyboard shortcut for Inspect Element pictured in the screenshot above (Ctrl+Alt+Click). Just hold down the Ctrl and Alt keys on your keyboard together and you will see your mouse cursor change, then you can hover over a field and click on it. This is especially useful in screens that don’t have the CUSTOMIZATION button, like pop-up windows within screens, because you can still access Inspect Element using the keyboard shortcut.
So back to our example. We wanted to find out the database table names and field names for the two fields highlighted in red above.
Once you click on the Inspect Element button, you will get a little question mark next to your mouse icon. When you hover over fields, they get highlighted in blue.
If you hover over the Reference Nbr. field and click on it, a little window will pop-up that looks like this:
In the screenshot above, ARInvoice is the table and RefNbr is the column/field in the table. This is a MUCH easier way than the old hunt and peck method.
Pretty cool huh? That’s why I think Inspect Element is your best friend.