Monday, March 29, 2010

Back from Open ERP community days and parnter day 2010

So here are my notes of the community days. Sorry it is very very rough and I don't have the time to polish this more...Note this is not exhaustive. And nothing official in all these...

Community days

New version 6 targeted for July 2010

  • The main menu will be replaced by a Dashboard showing the main functional applications inside the ERP (not to be confused with the module concept).
  • New GTK and Web client : improved client performance 3x with GTK up to 30 with WEB (will of course depends of deployment scenario).
  • Web client
  • New calendar view in WEB.
  • New Web design, main page with a dashboard representing applications.
  • Fully ajax -> performance.
  • Web framework. Web modules (more or less plugins).E.g Web mail.
  • Business intelligence is a plug-in in the web framework.
  • HTML in the view (these are skipped by the GTK client).
  • Etherpad integration (collaborative editing) – See
Next version – functional aspects
  • Reworked CRM – no details.
  • CalDav (shynchronization with virtually any mobile phone) but also sync with desktop PIM Synch / Desktop Pim (outlook thunderbird)+ WebPIM – GMAIL.
  • Calendar improvement: look & feel, recurring items, invitations (similar to a PIM in OpenERP) !
  • Web framework with web module, e.g: HTML / RichText editor.
  • Task, bugs module synchro with Launchpad – collaborative open source project management.
  • Web services reviewed (multiple protocols on the same port)
  • Module prototype for Facebook.
  • Offline reporting : send a request and later on a message is sent to the use indicating that the report is ready.
  • Synchronization between two servers (tool already existed but will be officialy released).
  • Instead of all the menus like, my sales order, etc there will be a single search screen per object with the possibility to put conditions in search. Also it will be possible to save these filters.
  • Smart views. For example possibility to build tree views that include price computed through price list
  • Survey engine. Possibility to build surveys easily and attach them to more or less to any object (transversal concept like document management or e-mail – if an object inherits from mail gateway). Example of use: customer care satisfaction, HR etc. Include invitation management.
  • HR module – Holidays granting / evaluation.
  • Multi-company will be very much improved and will be part of the base. Possibility for a user to switch from one company to another.? Record rules to restrict domain.
  • Project – taks Projects – possibility to lilt task views linked to project participation.
  • Diagrams view extended to nearly anything (was only used for workflow / process) describe the view by defining which entity will be seen as a node / which relation will be used to indicate arrows.
New release schema
  • Monthly bug fixes release. Stable release every 18 months -new concept of a LTS (long term support) release.
  • Maintenance : fix, migration (still unclear what will be public / contributed), bug fixes, security. Belgium – compliancy e.g Vat is guaranteed ?

MiscellaneousAnnouncement: project for Payroll management with a social secretariat in Belgium / France. This will probably still require a year of work.
  • Methodology – CampToCamp
  • Gherking Business Readable Specific Language
  • Demonstration powermail - openlabs.
  • Direct Markting module – OpenERP.
  • Training module - AJM
  • Yaml –testing framework - OpenERP.
  • Mobile access (timesheet client application J2ME) - BHC 
  • OerpScenario (testing framework) Camptocamp : See also Gherking Business Readable Specific Language.See


I attended the finance & accounting workshop. We drafted a list of improvements absolutely necessary for the accounting module and listed a lot of various actions to make it better. There will be later experts workshop to follow-up...

I will come back later on, on the partner day...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tomorrow ... Open ERP community meetings and partners day

Tomorrow, I will attend the OpenERP community and partners days...

The first day is dedicated to presentations.

The second day is organized as workshops. I still don't know which one I will take, probably  accounting and finance or community contributions. Except my own proposal I have not seen any feedback concerning a potential agenda.

The third day is only for partners and should cover the partners programs.

Finally they decided to organize the meeting in their offices... So I can already predict limited comfort for three days.

I have a lot of questions, expectations and fears, I will post  a summary at the end week.

FYI My proposal for the finance and accounting workshop

1. My ‘shopping list’

Basically, this is mostly extracted from a study done for a customer for which Open-ERP is a bit ‘short’ specially on international / multi-company scenarios.


-          Explicit multi-company operation.

-          Internal invoicing, cross-country selling (country x selling country y services)

-          Service localization

-          Sales commissioning – with contexts.

Temporary accounting statement

-          Deferred income / Revenue to invoice.

Invoicing plan

-          Be able to prepare future invoices for a project

Assets management           

2. Legal statement - cooperation

While the product is announced to be localized for many-countries (chart of account at least) it is not clear (at least for me) which country is fully ‘compliant’ or complete – at least Vat, legal statement for balance etc

It would be great to have a matrix per country of what is really done and with some maintainers – scheduling of changes per country.

For example, when I asked about the VAT statement in Belgium I got little reply so I think that either nobody is using OpenERP for VAT reporting or that the ‘community’ does not contribute back.

3. Blue prints I found on launch pad (I don’t pretend to be exhaustive)

One remark on the blueprints, I never had an issue on this at this stage, but accuracy is may be critical but it needs much more input.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Flexibility - Extensibility - Part 1 - UB Net Director

Years ago, I worked for a company now disappeared: Ungermann-Bass (then renamed UB networks, but I will simply write UB).

UB on which I could write a complete book  titled “How great ideas can fail thanks to sucking managers” had one of the first usable Network Management products (Net Director).  The persisting, damned choice of OS/2 instead of Windows could be the start of a chapter, the reluctance to open the product to third parties and to manage other vendors devices could be a nice piece of text too… 

Their addiction to management hypes was great (and expensive), I am still hesitating which one was the most irrelevant (writing book is not that easy). Among the perks: we received great motivation via UB TV (VHS tapes) that we were ‘obliged’ to look at during the office hours. Sorry, I don’t have any copies of the one with Squadrons of Flying jets illustrating one of our most elusive core values : working through team work !

Anyway, a lot of software people seem to have difficulties to imagine that their design will not satisfy the end users. Net Director had provision for three extra fields in the database per managed device. I don’t remember their exact names, it was something like comment 1, 2 ,3. 20 year ago that was extensibility… at least for UB.

A big governmental customer wanted to use Net Director as a core to their operations. Basically they wanted to put inventory information, location etc in the system. They did the legitimate request for the product to be enhanced and asked for 7 more fields. The enhancement request was a lengthy process at UB and I am still pretty sure that it took more money to discuss these kinds of enhancements than to please customers by doing them (one more chapter of the book). A couple of paragraphs will cover the fact that a colleague and I, travelled to California to put these 7 extra text boxes and a scroll bar on a window. I really did nice trips for them, and I must say I loved the bay area…

To be continued...

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

PHP5 installing xdebug on Ubuntu

Just to remember...

sudo aptitude install php5-xdebug