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Apache OFBiz, a Real-world Open Source ERP: Using the Power of Business to Your Benefit

Bruno Souza, NetBeans Community Manager, Sun Microsystems
Ean Schuessler, CTO, Brainfood Media Systems

Track: Web Applications (client-side and server-side)
Date: Wednesday, July 25
Time: 4:30pm - 5:15pm
Location: D133

This presentation covers the Apache Open for Business Project. OFBiz is an open source, Java-based platform for business. OFBiz provides a complete enterprise resource planning (ERP) system written in the Java programming language that is ready for industrial application. The session discusses the origin of OFBiz in Len Silverston's universal data model work and examines its sophisticated infrastructure for managing e-commerce, catalogs, promotion and pricing, orders (sales and purchase), customers (customer relationship management), fulfillment, accounting, manufacturing, work efforts, and content.

The presentation also discusses the implications of an open source universal data model and the gains in productivity from using preexisting code versus the inherent challenge of learning a large system. It considers how high-quality open source ERP potentially alters the build-versus-buy question in engineering the enterprise. And it touches on the potential of sharing best practices with vendors, suppliers, and even competitors through source code.

The session includes a demonstration rooted in actual implementation and application rather than high-level business speak. It shows the similarities between the OFBiz Entity Engine and other object/relational containers as well as the fundamental (classless) differences. It also examines the OFBiz Service Engine model, how it deeply ingrains a service-oriented architecture in OFBiz, and the aspect-oriented programming implications of OFBiz entity condition actions and service condition actions.

The demonstration provides a tour of these capabilities and shows how the (off-the-shelf) functionality can be modified to handle specific business problems. It shows an e-commerce system created to provide knowledge management for a large construction company. The system manages more than 8,000 employees, who collectively produce 35,000+ home starts and more than $7 billion dollars in yearly revenue. Attendees see the application of the content management system and CRM models for a 14-city technical conference and look at a legal contract management system built with the OFBiz workflow management system. Each effort demonstrates how the preexisting business logic greatly reduced the amount of programmer effort necessary to complete the system.

The presenters are OFBiz Commiters and Consultants, that have created, implemented and customized OFBiz in real world instalations. The OFBiz project also has a strong open source community, with the involvement of individuals and companies that have built a vibrant busines echosystem around the project.