Openbravo executives open up on the ERP solution

GoodGearGuide gets behind the scenes of this successful business, with some of its key executives. They discuss the project, where it’s headed and what makes it so popular with developers, partners and end users.

GGG: What are your favourite features of Openbravo?

JOSEP MITJÀ: Openbravo ERP includes robust features such as procurement, warehousing, projects, manufacturing, sales and all financial management functions, as well as Basic CRM and BI functionality. Distinctive advantages include:

It is flexible and scaleable: Openbravo can be scaled to cater to any customer, regardless of size or sector.

It is cost competitive: ERP systems can be very expensive to install. Openbravo is an Open Source product that puts clients in full control without the financial burden of licenses, so reducing total cost of ownership by on average 30 percent.

It avoids user lock-in: Openbravo can be adapted to particular needs with no restrictions by the manufacturer and end-clients can easily change suppliers.

It is Web-based: Users can access Openbravo with a standard web browser from any location and it is easy to use.

Revolutionary architecture: The software has been designed as a single ERP application with revolutionary architecture enabling a better way to build and maintain software coding.

GGG: What are the advantages to an entirely web based ERP?

JOSEP MITJÀ: Thanks to the web-based nature of Openbravo, users can access the program from any location equipped with a standard web browser, making it particularly suited for customer trials and easy to use. The server can be installed on customer premises or can be hosted remotely and therefore delivered as SaaS (Software as a Service). To avoid the hassle of hardware and software maintenance it is also based on a technical architecture that guarantees the maximum level of security.

GGG: How does Openbravo's development model work?

PAOLO JUVARA: Openbravo follows a development model that combines elements of agile programming with aspects of a traditional waterfall development process.

When we receive feature requests, we do a quick initial assessment to roughly estimate the amount of effort required to implement the feature. We then add the feature to our queue of requests.

At the beginning of a release, we target an appropriate set of features that we want to be build. This process balances three elements: how well understood a feature is, community priorities and development capacity.

For each feature, we develop a functional specification and we then break down the project into sub features. The release development cycle is broken into several iterations. At the beginning of each iteration, we decide which sub feature to build next and we assess whether the whole project is still on track to complete in time for the release.

GGG: What does your development environment consist of?

PAOLO JUVARA: Openbravo is developed in Java, SQL and PL/SQL. Most of our developers work on a Linux machine with a database, PostgreSQL or Oracle, the Java Development Kit, Apache Ant and Tomcat installed. Java coding and debugging is done in Eclipse. The source control system is SVN.

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