Documentation: Status Update

January 23, 2012
When I presented the Roadmap for 2012 I announced that the new User Documentation would be published by December 2011. Let me give you an update about the current status and the short&mid term plan of the Openbravo 3 User Guide.

Current status

There are already some areas ready for you to review and provide feedback. This documentation set is placed in our wiki (wiki.openbravo.com) and is linked from the main wiki page (User Guide section of it). These are the areas ready for review:

This is the first iteration of putting documentation content for these areas in place and there will be several stages to improve it, but from the documentation structure and documentation approach point of view we consider it final. So you can expect that other application areas of Openbravo will be documented the same way.

As usual we are very interested in your feedback, the best way to do it by posting in our Documentation Forum.

Short term plan

The following areas are in progress:
All these are planned to be documented and ready for review by February 15th, 2012.  Some of them will be available even early, you can track our progress.

Mid term plan

After February 15th, there will be an “interaction” period which will end around mid March for us to polish the user guide “content” based on your feedback.

During the same period or a bit later we are going to add 2 additional parts to the User Guide:
(a) Advanced Features, sections describing features hidden in the out-of-the-box Openbravo configuration because they are not commonly used.
These sections are now empty within each application area.
(b) How to scenarios that we also consider to place within each Openbravo application area.

We will keep you informed on our progress.

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Openbravo’s 2012 Road Map

November 10, 2011
I am pleased to announce that we have completed the publishing of Openbravo’s Road Map for 2012. You can see the final document here. This is a very detailed description of all the projects that Openbravo Product Development team plans to deliver in the following 15 months. With this Road Map, Openbravo continues to disrupt the ERP industry with a collaborative, user-centered approach that provides the first real alternative to legacy ERP business as usual.

Recently I presented this Road Map in two open webinars, one in English and one in Spanish, including over an hour of interactive Q&A. To view the recorded sessions, please click here for English and here for Spanish. I strongly recommend you to do it if you want to get full understanding of our plan forward.

It is difficult to summarize such an ambitious plan. In 2012 Openbravo will see many functional enhancements, a state of the art mobile UI, embedded workflow engine, new architecture for Retail, and many additional productivity improvements. As I said during the presentation, “Openbravo 3 is today an excellent product but in 15 months time, after we deliver this Road Map, we are sure our product will be unbeatable“. I hope you share our confidence and excitement.

You can check that many projects have already been delivered, and many others are coming soon. Openbravo 3 technology has boosted our productivity and we move forward at the fastest pace in our history. Stay connected, we will keep this document updated on an automated basis, so use it  to monitor our progress!

Finally, I want to stress that this Road Map is a consolidation of the feedback we’ve gotten from our vibrant Community of Partners, Customers and Contributors. And be aware that this plan is open for changes if we see opportunities to improve it, so feedback is still very welcome. Please express your views in the Open Discussion forum. Feedback can also be provided on any deliverable by simply clicking on the Go to Project link for each item and participating in the discussions relating to that project.

Let’s make it happen!

Announcing Openbravo 3 Generally Available

June 15, 2011

I am very excited to announce the immediate availability of Openbravo 3.0 MP0, the first Generally Available release in the Openbravo 3 series.

It means that Openbravo 3 is now our most stable release and we recommend it for deployment for all projects.  Stability and smooth update to subsequent Maintenance Packs is guaranteed from this moment on.

Openbravo 3.0 MP0 is primarily a stabilization release, including over 180 fixes for issues reported by early adopters of previous release candidates. Besides stabilization, Openbravo 3.0 MP0 also delivers some further productivity improvements that make the usage of the ERP easier and more agile:

  • Several enhancements in the financial flows: based on feedback from early adopters. The main change is the ability to match a transaction with payments from different business partners. There are also a number of usability improvements (filtering capabilities and others).
  • Multi-Currency support: kindly contributed by Ben Sommerville (Eintel), an Australian Openbravo Partner, the new financial flows in Openbravo 3 now support the ability to operate with different currencies. Based on the Currency Conversion Rates entered in Openbravo 3, the documents are posted to the General Ledger in the currency defined in the Accounting Schema.
  • Migration tool to APRM version 2: Openbravo 2.50 instances using the old financial flows will need to migrate to the new financial flows as part of the upgrade to Openbravo 3.  A first version of the module to perform this migration was published 3 months ago. This new version of the module supports all the new capabilities added to the new financial flows (remittances, multi-currency, etc.). It will be available in parallel with the upgrade process from Openbravo 2.50 planned by MP31.
  • Terminology review: some components of Openbravo 3 where not quite clear due to wrong terminology (eg. Standard/Unit/Net Price, Order Completed, etc.). Several of them have been renamed to more standard terms.
  • Spanish Translation Pack Review: the Spanish Translation pack had some issues with the terminology used in the new financial flows and some other areas. It is now completely polished.
  • Ability to add buttons to the toolbar from modules: kindly contributed by Sreedhar Sirigiri (TDS), an US Openbravo Partner, modules can now add custom buttons to be included in the windows toolbar (for a specific window or globally) to extend the capabilities of the system.
  • Clone Orders: based on the previous, TDS has also contributed a very handy option in the Sales Order window: now it is possible to clone any Order in the system (including lines, taxes, etc) regardless of the status of the original document. The cloned order is in Draft status, ready to be modified or processed.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts fully supported: the ability to operate Openbravo 3 from the keyboard is a critical feature that was not fully implemented in earlier release candidates. Now it is possible to operate your Openbravo 3 environment without the need to touch your mouse.
  • Make visible implicit filters: some Openbravo windows have implicit filters (eg. Transactional windows only show documents that are not processed or have been recently modified). Although extremely useful for experienced users, newcomers to the product may find this behaviour slightly inintuitive. Openbravo 3 now makes these filters highly visible with notifications.  There is also an option to hide these notifications, which a user may select once they are familiar with the behaviour.
  • Performance Improvements: new several improvements have been done to improve the responsiveness of the system (caching meta-data definition, optimization of the Form Initialization Component). The user experience is now much faster and smoother than before.
  • Documentation: as the last step to reach the General Availability Status, all the documentation about Openbravo 3 is now available after a deep review and redesign.
    • System Admin Guide: all technical details for System Administrators to install, configure and run the system.
    • Configuration Guide: it includes all the relevant information for Consultants and Advanced Users to do the functional configuration of the system.
    • User Documentation (Getting Started, Business Flow Descriptions, Screens Reference) : functional documentation for end users designed to help them, from getting started to the detailed description of advanced features.
    • How to Localize: a guide for people localizing Openbravo (translation, chart of accounts, taxes, accounting templates and other advanced adaptations).
    • Developers Guide: complete documentation for Developers, from simple How to’s…, to complete reference of all Openbravo components and how to use them.

Openbravo 3.0 MP0 is intended for production usage and it is a fully supported release available in all editions, Community, Basic and Professional Edition. The automated upgrade process for Openbravo 2.50 instances will be available in MP31 planned by July the first. If you are in production on Openbravo 2.50 and you want to upgrade to Openbravo 3 you should wait for MP31 to schedule the upgrade.

If you want to learn more about Openbravo 3.0 MP0, please review the release notes for a full description of the release, download instructions or Amazon EC2 AMI codes. If you are pressed for time and have only a few minutes to learn about the product, you can take it for a spin in our demo environment.

As always, you are encouraged to tell us what you think, by posting a comment on this post, raising an issue in issues.openbravo.com or discussing it in the Openbravo forums.

This release culminates more than 20 months of very hard work of the Openbravo Team and several third-party contributors. It has been a very long birth and we all feel very proud parents of our baby. We do expect you like it. Enjoy!

Announcing Openbravo 3.0 RC7

May 23, 2011
I am pleased to announce the immediate availability of Openbravo 3.0 RC7, the seventh release candidate in the Openbravo 3 series.

Openbravo 3.0 RC7 is primarily a stabilization release, including over 150 fixes for issues reported by early adopters of previous release candidates.

Besides stabilization, Openbravo 3.0 RC7 also delivers some further productivity improvements that make the usage of the ERP easier and more agile:
  • Re-location of fields according to the new 4 columns layout in all windows: the form view windows change from a layout of 2 columns (in Openbravo 2.50) to a layout of 4 columns in Openbravo 3. All windows in Openbravo have been reviewed and fields re-located to take full advantage of this new layout. A new collapsed section named “More information” is added for other meaninful (but less frequenlty used) fields.
  • Status Bar: this is another improvement in the window form view layout. The status bar is the bar that is on top of the form and includes the navigation buttons (previous, next, close). It is possible to configure fields to be shown in the Status Bar. Usually the main non-editable fields will be included (eg. Document status, Totals, etc.), but any field can be placed there. This presentation helps to convey the main status information of that document.
  • Attachments: this is a very well know historical capability of Openbravo that has now been migrated to Openbravo 3. It is possible to attach any file (images, pdf’s, docs, etc.) to any document/record in the system. For example, you can save all project releated documentation linked to each project. With Openbravo 3 this feature is easier to use than ever.An example of how a window looks in Openbravo RC7
  • Financial Account window migrated to Openbravo 3 user interface: the Financial Account window is the main component of the new financial flows included in Openbravo 3. Because this window included a manual form (the Transaction tab) when it was originally implemented in Openbravo 2.50, it was shown in classic mode in Openbravo 3. This manual form has now been removed (the Transaction tab is now implemented as a standard Application Dictionary component). As a result the Financial Account window is shown with the new UI and the Transaction tab has much better usability than it had. This is a great demonstration of the Openbravo 3 power: code that is easier to develop and maintain provides much better usability!.
  • Remittances: Remittances is a very common financial feature in some countries (eg. Spain) that was not supported in the new financial flows. This feature is delivered as a community module, not included in the Openbravo 3 distribution. It has several improvements over the previous version on the old financial flows.
    • Remittances feature requires several improvements over the new financial flows, for more information, please take a look into the “Advanced Payables & Receivables Management Release Notes”.
    • Remittances feature supports different file generation formats such as the Spanish ones : “Cuaderno 19” , “Cuaderno 58” and “Cuaderno 34”. Each of these file generation formats is delivered as an optional commercial module (free for Professional Subscription instances), not included in the Openbravo 3 distribution.
  • Exclude columns from Audit: Added possibility of excluding individual columns of a table from the Audit Trail functionality.
  • Pop-up windows replaced with modal application windows: one of the most commonly reported usability issues in Openbravo 2.50 was a browser’s pop-up blocker preventing an Openbravo pop-up window from opening. In RC5 we started a replacement of the pop-up windows by modal application windows that are not blocked by the browser. Now most of them are replaced and only a few (less common events) are left. Please let us know if any of those that remain provide a negative user experience.
  • Ability to execute processes in header when focus is in lines: in previous versions of Openbravo 3 it was not possible to process an order when the focus was in the lines tab. This has now been addressed so that the process buttons in the header are accessible when the focus is the lines, making the process much easier to complete.
  • Performance Improvements: several improvements have been done to improve the responsiveness of the system. Grid-scrolling, editing the grid, navigating to linked records, callout execution, etc. are all much faster and smoother than before.
  • Internal improvements: invisible to users, but still very important to mention. When Openbravo 3 reaches MP0 (General Availability) we will not make any change that might reduce the stability of the system. Therefore these infrastructure changes are happening now. It includes:
    • Code clean-up: several deprecated components in Openbravo code have been removed from the system as they are no longer needed. In anticipation of a modified Openbravo 2.50 instance using a deprecated component we have created a module named “Legacy features no longer available in Core” to make the upgrade easier. Those instances should remove any dependency to that module as it is not going to be maintained! Besides a new public module named “Import Data” is also available. This module contains all the componets related to the old Import Data Load functionality that is replaced in Openbravo 3 with Initial Data Load module.
    • Library Update: most of the third party libraries used by the Openbravo code have been updated to newer versions. Most prominent are the changes from Jasperreports 3.0.1 to 4.0.1, and hibernate 3.2.5 to 3.6.3.
Openbravo 3.0 RC7 is intended for production usage by early adopters and it is a fully supported release available in all editions, Community, Basic and Professional Edition.

If you are a new user interested in learning about Openbravo and evaluating the product, you should use Openbravo 3.0 RC7. If you are an existing community member interested in staying up to speed with the latest evolutions of Openbravo, you should download and install Openbravo 3.0 RC7.

If you are interested in deploying Openbravo for production usage in a new project, you should also consider Openbravo 3.0 RC7. Early adopters interested in deploying Openbravo 3.0 RC7 in production are recommended to thoroughly test the processes relevant to their business before deploying them in production.

If you are already in production on an earlier version of Openbravo 3, we advise you to update your system to RC7 at your earliest convenience. If you are in production on Openbravo 2.50 or earlier, we advise you to wait for general availability before scheduling an upgrade.

If you want to learn more about Openbravo 3.0 RC7, please review the release notes for a full description of the release, download instructions or Amazon EC2 AMI codes. If you are pressed for time and have only a few minutes to learn about the product, you can take it for a spin in our demo environment.

As always, you are encouraged to tell us what you think, by posting a comment on this post, raising an issue in issues.openbravo.comor discussing it in the Early Releases Discussion forum.

Modularity Status Update webinar re-scheduled for next Thursday February 25th

February 18, 2010

The webinar was scheduled for today at 16:00 (CET) as you know. But I  have just known that I have to travel this afternoon and it forces me to delay the session.
I appreciate your understanding and truly apologize for the delay. Please make sure to attend the event on next Thursday February 25th from 16:00 to 17:00 (CET).

I look forward to seeing you there.

Modularity Status Update and Road Map – February 18th

February 9, 2010

Open to all Openbravo Community members, in this webinar you will learn main concepts, achievements  in 2009 and the plan going forward for 2010 related to Openbravo Modularity and Ecosystem. And you will have the opportunity to participate in an open discussion  about a couple of ideas that Openbravo team wants to promote in order to improve collaboration.

Take a look at this post for more details about the webinar.

Reminder: Critical API change in Openbravo 2.50 MP9

December 9, 2009
This is a reminder for people updating their Openbravo instances to 2.50 MP9.

As we broadcasted during the last weeks through different channels there has been a critical change in Openbravo 2.50 public API. Please read carefully this post if you don’t know about it. This change has been included into the recently published 2.50 MP9.

As of today there are four modules (Invoice Register Book, POS Sync Webservice, IDL, 347 report) affected by this change from the 96 modules already published in Openbravo Central Repository. The four modules have been fixed and a new version of them has been published.

If you have any of these modules installed in your instance you should follow the next steps to update your instance:
  1. In Openbravo Module Manager window do a scan for updates. You will get available updates for core module (2.50 MP9) and at least for any of those modules if you had installed them
  2. You have to “Apply all” updates together
This way the update process will be transparent for you. If you have any installed module using DAL that is not published in Openbravo CR you should check that module is not affected before you update your instance. You can read in the post above to learn how to check if your module is affected.

Again, sorry for any inconvenience it might cause.

Ismael

Critical change in Openbravo 2.50 public API

November 17, 2009
There has been a critical change in Openbravo 2.50 public API to be released in MP9 (November 30th, 2009). DAL implementation of columns referenced as Number in the Aplication Dictionary are mapped now to BigDecimal intead of Float. Getters and Setters for those columns are no longer using Float data type but BigDecimal. For example, instead of

java.lang.Float org.openbravo.model.common.currency.ConversionRate.getDivideRateBy()

now it is implemented as

java.math.BigDecimal org.openbravo.model.common.currency.ConversionRate.getDivideRateBy()

Main reason for this change is that original API (using Float) was wrong: arithmetic operations with Float properties might result in wrong results since java can not represent float-point precisely

As a result, modules and customizations using DAL getters or setters of columns with reference Number will need to be fixed before updating your instances to MP9. The fix is quite simple: just replace the Float method (in getters) or the Float parameter (in setters) by a BigDecimal one.

By November 15th 2009, from almost 100 published modules there are only three affected by this API change:

 

  • Invoice Register Book
  • POS Sync Webservice
  • IDL
  • 347 report
The four of them will be fixed by Openbravo team and a new versions including that fix will be published at the same time MP9 is published, so updates applied from Central Repository -using scan for updates in Openbravo Module Management window- will be transparently applied without errors. Openbravo team will continuously monitor new published modules during the next months to avoid an instance running MP9 or higher to use a module using old API. We will keep all of you updated on our findings.

You have to take care about your not published modules. It is very simple to check if your module is broken because of this change: update your development instance to current pi repository -or to MP9 after publishing- and build the system: the error will be clearly raised by your system.

Openbravo is strongly commited to keep its public API stable within major versions but there is no point to keep stable something if it is wrong. We have tried to minimize the pain by temporarily creating duplicated getters and setters using both data types (Float and BigDecimal) and setting the Float ones as deprecated to allow a gradual fix of the problem. But it is not possible to have two methods with identical signature and different return type and other approaches would have lead into a more painful solution of the problem.

I apologize for any inconvenience it might cause. This alert has been announced in Openbravo Developers forum:

http://forge.openbravo.com/plugins/espforum/view.php?group_id=100&forumid=549512&topicid=7005952

Please monitor that thread to keep updated on the issue.
Thanks,
Ismael

Recorded Extension Module webinars available!

October 24, 2009

Recorded “Extension Module” webinars and related resources are available in Developers Guide at Openbravo wiki. Next sessions will be published at the same location.

Do not miss the opportunity to learn how to develop your own Openbravo modules!

Bi-weekly “Extension Module” Demonstrations

October 13, 2009

Open to all Openbravo Community members, this series of webinars will demonstrate through real extension modules the potential of Openbravo modularity, will help you better understand development techniques, processes and tools you can use to create extension modules, and will show concrete functional solutions to address specific requirements that might inspire you to create your own solutions.

Take a look at this post to see next demonstrations calendar and more details