B-Orange ERP

Redwerk extends the open source ERP software

Openbravo with new functionalities


Bmomentum partnerBusiness Momentum BVBeuningen, Netherlands

Business Momentum is a Dutch provider of an ERP based on the open source OpenBravo project.

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Project-based

Fixed project quotes were provided to Business Momentum by Redwerk for this software development assignment. It was possible as the discovery effort by our business analysts resulted into a full-scale scope document including detailed business logic specifications.

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Management of customers, purchase orders, services, invoicing, payments and employees with very business-specific workflows. We fully understand the consultancy business to automate it in this very instance.

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Challenge

The client’s product was an enterprise resource planning system (ERP) based on the open source Openbravo project. Redwerk’s software experts were tasked with extending the functionality of this software by adding one more screen to the user interface. For this, it was essential that we took into account the context of the given solution, and a custom business logic needed to be added. Our team had to create the application’s business layer and adapt the new UI to the existing UI of the software.

Openbravo is a web-based ERP solution for small and medium sized companies which is released under the Openbravo Public License. The software was built on top of the Compiere ERP software which is also open source. As of January 2008, this program was among the top ten most active projects at Sourceforge.

The benefits of Openbravo for companies and organizations are that a number of the most common business processes can be scheduled and organized in an easy manner. Openbravo supports many aspects of a business like sales, procurement, manufacturing, project management, etc. The Openbravo ERP software is easily recognizable by its green web interface through which users update a company’s records and data. An especially handy function of Openbravo is that it supports exporting data into PDF files and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

Redwerk was given quite a lot to work with: a package containing the source files, a detailed project structure, and an installation manual. Then our experts were left to themselves, to create the business layer and the user interface for the following new software elements:

  • Search tab
  • Product Edit tab
  • Memo tab
  • Create details tab
  • Price information tab
  • Purchase information tab
  • Stock information tab

We were given a mockup in the form of an Eclipse web project. This contained all required libraries to be used directly in Eclipse with a tomcat web container setup. This UI contained a new elements, namely tabs which had to be added to the project and customized with the appropriate logical operations.

We were asked by Business Momentum to follow their in-house HQL/SQL design rules, and it was agreed that all our code would be externally reviewed by our client.

Solution

Once we got our heads around the requirements, the myriad of database tables and controls etc., we started to do what we do best: implement new, amazing functionalities step by step, or rather, tab after tab.

The highly complex structure of the business layer was based on a JPA project which contained all the required business logic. A great number of classes had already been added to this to play nicely with the Openbravo database. All this rather complex stuff really comes together in the user interface with a module which already had a tabbed structure, while the Openbravo project itself is really only the carrier of the UI.

The user interface was based on ZUL framework, which presented our first hurdle on the way to solving this particular software development puzzle. Here, the layout was described in special files on top of which the user interface was constructed. However, according to the coding guidelines for this projects, we had to write all our code in Java. And guess what? There were no manuals or instructions available anywhere on how to use Java in this particular context. Which gave way to a lengthy process of rather time-consuming work and discussions along the lines of “What would the UI look like, if I used this and that method?”, etc. There were only a few examples available, but the rest had to be created completely from scratch according to our specific requirements. On top of that, each change in the UI required a re-start of Tomcat.

Last, but not least, a search function had to be implemented as well, and in order for this to come off elegantly, the business model had to be extended with new objects for the results display in order to allow searching by user-defined parameters.

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2

developers worked on the project

1

QA engineer

320

man-hours spent

647,716

lines of code

Results

Redwerk’s software engineers proved in the course of this project that even old dogs can learn new tricks, as our seasoned developers managed to pull off a project which involved technologies which we had very little experience with. This is an even bigger achievement when you consider that no manuals or instructions were available for our particular software challenge. All new functionality was designed to fit in seamlessly with the rest of the system by keeping in mind Openbravo’ UI design principles. All ended well, and the extension was built according to the client’s requirements. Redwerk’s solution fit in perfectly with the existing structure and the general look and feel of the system.

When the Openbravo software finally reached its end customers, it was implemented in two companies of very different sectors, one a heavy industry company specialized in buying and selling torque and tensioning systems and the other a retailer and online shop focused exclusively on Apple products. Which proves that behind any successful business, no matter how large and in which sector, there is a successful software development process, which Redwerk is proud to play a part in!

Enterprise resource planning system
Redwerk has proven to be a good development partner for Business Momentum. For a client I needed extra functionality which we didn't have the resources to build within available time. Within the time and budget Redwerk delivered a module perfectly in line with all other modules created by my own development team. Communication and quality of work were excellent.
Ron Cramer Business Momentum partner

Ron Kramer, Owner at Business Momentum BV

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Openbravo project development
ERP system
Application’s business layer development
Web-based ERP solution
ERP software development
ZUL framework

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