Simple Groupware, enterprise-ready

Simple Groupware & CMS is an open source enterprise groupware application that offers email, calendaring, contacts, tasks, document management, project management, synchronization with Microsoft Outlook and cell phones, full-text search, and more. Simple Groupware’s secret weapon against its software competition is its sgsML programming language, which lets developers quickly customize and create powerful web applications. Not only software, but also support and documentation, are available for free.

Your organization probably already has a well-entrenched corporate e-mail application, but Simple Groupware project leader Thomas Bley would tell you that groupware is more than just e-mail. “With an application like Simple Groupware, you can add comments and notes to e-mail messages. You can share messages with others without giving them access to your mail account. You can assign messages, notes, documents, and tasks to customers or projects. You can organize all kinds of information centrally on one platform, including shared access and editing workflows to get the best productivity. Groupware is one central platform where people come together and share information. It’s one of the best ways to create team players out of individuals.”

Munich-based Bley has been working on web-based groupware software for almost a decade. “I first joined an open source project called more.groupware. At the end of 2002 I decided to start my own project in order to realize my vision of an XML-based markup language used to define web applications.”

Bley develops the application using tried and true tools. “I’m mostly using Notepad++ [Ed. - this month's SourceForge.net Project of the Month], grep, and PHP to build the application and the packages. Sometimes I also use Zend Studio and Eclipse PDT.

“At the moment I’m the only person coding the core application, but many other people are working on translations (Simple Groupware is now available in 21 languages), libraries, and the other projects that Simple Groupware uses (e.g. PmWiki, TinyMCE, and PEAR). Many users also provide regular feedback and do tests. It would be great if more people would share their customizations with others.”

Simple Groupware is still under active development, with new versions coming about every month. Bley plans to add a CalDAV server to the software and new modules to offer things like blogs and surveys. He also welcomes help from translators and coders. “Everyone who writes customizations or new features (especially new modules) is welcome to share their results. The code doesn’t need to be perfect. I also like to hear ideas for new features and new layouts – post them on the feature request tracker on SourceForge.net.”

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