Since joining Openbravo in April, I have spent time speaking with members of our ecosystem and personally experiencing the Openbravo Forge. As expected, members of the ecosystem can now complete projects in collaboration with or independently from Openbravo staff. However, I am surprised by the results we have been able to achieve so quickly, and am really please to see how some business practices have dramatically improved.
Re: the quantitative numbers, as of this writing the Openbravo Forge statistics (publicly shown in the upper right corner of the screen) read “139 projects and 6997 developers”!
Read on for some qualitative examples of what is happening at the Openbravo Forge.
Partner and Ecosystem Contributions and the Resulting Exposure
The old way: Openbravo Partners and the ecosystem completed extensions and had difficulty sharing them worldwide.
The new way: Openbravo Partners and the ecosystem are collectively sharing extensions, gaining wide exposure in the process.
Success Stories: Since the Forge went live, companies like Opensistemas have started publishing some of their extensions there. During an implementation for well-recognized European Fast Food Chain Bocatta, Opensistemas implemented POS features such as a kitchen monitor, an expanded menu, and an ingredients menu. For those in the ecosystem, these features are available here.
Community Translation and Localization Projects
The old way: Openbravo staff created an SVN branch so translators and the community could support these efforts. Openbravo staff was required to personally create localization packages and release them on our specific release schedule.
The new way: The Openbravo Forge lets anyone create their own translation project and release it as desired. They do not require any daily support from Openbravo.
Success Stories: Since the Forge went live, Openbravo staff has been able to invest more time supporting ecosystem efforts and less time on basic administration. As a result, country location projects are growing daily:
Independently Learning about and Creating Openbravo Modules
The old way: The ecosystem learned how to develop on top of Openbravo via wiki documentation.
The new way: The forge makes it more attractive to learn how to develop modules via interactive collaboration with Openbravo.
Success Stories: Right now in Pakistan, a Computer Science Professor is using the Forge to mentor development projects for his students. With the forge, his students have all the tools they need to learn about a development process in open source. The result for the ecosystem is a set of new and exciting features. The result of Openbravo is the opportunity to mentor the teacher and the students on how to develop for Openbravo. You can check their progress here and here.
Partners and the Ecosystem Create and Manage Projects in Private on the Forge…for Free
The old way: Some partners and ecosystem members were required to pay for a private Forge space, manage their projects on a public Forge, or potentially use a rudimentary sharing tool in order to control project management.
The new way: Partners can manage their projects privately on the Openbravo Forge. Neither Openbravo nor the community will have any access to private project content. Free hosted project services include forums, news, downloads, bug tracking, versioning control system for code, and Wiki / Central Repository modules integration.
Success Stories: As of today, Openbravo is only aware of the 115 public projects on the Forge. Unless a staff member is provided access by a project administrator, we are unable to view any work being completed in a private Forge project.
The Forge is actively helping the ecosystem quickly bring Openbravo ERP to new markets and industries. This is because members of the ecosystem can independently connect with one another. They can also have the flexibility to choose what projects to work on, or even to start a project publicly or privately. As for Openbravo, we spend much less time on administration and basic coordination, and much more time on guidance and support.
Virtual and Face-to-Face Collaboration
One final thought on Openbravo’s growing ecosystem and our efforts to support it. While the Openbravo Forge is a great tool to support asynchronous collaboration, we at Openbravo also strongly believe in the traditional face-to-face method, and our biggest event is the Openbravo World Conference (OBWC). For a glimpse of what the 2009 edition offered, please see this video. Happy collaborating via the forge, and I hope to see you at OBWC 2010!