Alternate reports are one approach to making third-party data available to existing reports. However, they have key limitations:
To overcome these limitation, third-party developers can implement a technique that uses Report Writer functions to make third-party data available to all reports. A set of six Report Writer functions are included in the Dynamics dictionary for the purpose of retrieving third-party data for reports. These functions are:
Within the Report Writer, end-users can create a calculated field that calls one of these predefined Report Writer functions, passes in the appropriate parameters to the function, and displays a piece of data from the third-party integration.
As an integration developer, it is up to you to make the data for your third-party integration available through these functions. You will do this by creating function triggers for these predefined functions. The trigger processing functions you write will retrieve the appropriate third-party data (based on the parameter values passed into the function) so the data can be used in a calculated field on the report.
It is up to the individual third-party applications to provide documentation and examples of how these Report Writer functions should be used to retrieve data for use on reports.
The set of predefined Report Writer functions was originally designed to provide access to third-party Sales Order Processing (SOP) and Purchase Order Processing (POP) data. The functions can be used to retrieve data for any other reports, but some of the parameters for the functions won’t be used.