Open Source Strategies

A blog about open source software and business models, enterprise software, and the opentaps Open Source ERP + CRM Suite.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

opentaps Framework Enhancements

As we head into the new year and to the next phase of development of the opentaps open source ERP and CRM system, there are several enhancements to the framework behind opentaps which we will be making. As you can see from this list, some of these enhancements will help make opentaps easier to use and to deploy, while others should open up new areas of possibility for our users:

New Forms and Document Management Tools

We plan on replacing xsl:fo with Jasper reports and iReport during the next year so that our users could easily customize all the forms and documents that their company needs, including orders, invoices, and receipts. We also hope to introduce a way for users to manage all these documents so that they no longer have to edit XML files.

Integrating Business Intelligence

We hope to integrate the new business intelligence tools in opentaps more deeply into the applications, rather than as add-on recording tools. Our goal is to make it easy for our users to define the analysis of their data, search for information, and display reports and search results in a variety of formats, including Excel spreadsheets, PDF's, Open Office documents, and so on-- all without having to write more code.

Make opentaps a Portal

I want to find a way to make it easy to reuse and recombine the opentaps applications so that our users could do the following:
  1. Incorporate screens and services from opentaps within other applications
  2. Incorporate other web-based applications, including everything from Gmail to in-house applications, in opentaps.
  3. Build custom opentaps-based applications to meet the needs of their users. For example, they should be able to build an application for an employee who does both purchasing an accounts payable by reusing the current opentaps Purchasing and Financials applications relatively easily.
Incorporate a Content Management System

We hope to be able to bundle opentaps with one or several open source content management systems to make it easier for users to build attractive front-end websites while utilizing all the capabilities of opentaps for their business management.

Rules and Workflow Engines

We hope to incorporate a rules engine and tool to support complex, pricing, commissions, and configuration-related features. We also hope to incorporate a workflow engine to allow our users to build and support complex business processes without custom code.

Through all of this, we want to make sure that we preserve compatibility for our users and for our existing applications, while the same time making opentaps both easier to use and more useful.

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