Open For Business is an Enterprise Automation suite which includes an application framework and a set of enterprise applications. It is J2EE based and currently has a nice framework and a very complete eCommerce package with supporting back-office applications.
Framework features include Entity, Service, Workflow and Rule Engines, a Webapp Framework and an XML Mini-Language to tie pieces together. The applications include a set of administrative and development support web tools and Catalog, Order, Party and Work Effort managers in addition to the customer facing eCommerce application.
Since Beta 1 of 2.0 was released in March a lot has been added to OFBiz. We were planning on doing cleanups and stabilization work and moving towards a 2.0 Final release, but some contracts came up. This is both good and bad. The bad part is that 2.0 Final is getting delayed, the good part is that a whole lot has been cleaned up and completed, and even more has been added.
Most of the new features are centered around making a feature rich eCommerce package that competes nicely with commercial alternatives. The Catalog, Order and Party Management applications have matured right along with eCommerce and are now sufficient for managing data behind the eCommerce site.
New eCommerce related features include:
- Variant Product Support (unlimited features and feature types)
- Psuedo-rules Based Product Pricing
- Effective Dated, Multiple Currency Product Prices
- Psuedo-rules Based Promotions (free shipping, gift with purchase, discounts, etc)
- Inventory Support
- Checking (can require for purchase or show time estimate)
- Reservation (FIFO/LIFO based on arrival or expiration)
- Payment Processing Support
- Verisign Payflow Pro
- Taxware Integration
- Enhanced Security Options (encrypted passwords, automatic disable/reenable accounts, etc)
- Improved Product Keyword Search
- Improved Multi-Catalog Functionality
- Improved Order Information (includes adjustments, contact mechanisms, inventory reservations, price calculation trace, payment info, etc)
In addition to all of these the data model has been cleaned up and added to a great deal and many pieces of the project have been refactored or completed.
So, what's next? There are a few areas we are planning on focusing on (the key word being "planning"):
- Content Management (based on JPublish and WSP from eInnovation)
- Portal Framework (basicly an extension to the Control Servlet and Regions components)
- Data migration and warehousing tool (ETL style)
- Reporting Tool (probably DataVision or JasperReports) and various Reports
- A WEKA based Data Analysis package
- Point of Sale (POS) integration (probably with Mercator)
- More back-office functionality including:
- Order accessories like invoices and shipments
- GL based accounting
- Warehouse Management and inventory improvements
Some of this functionality will not be a lot of work and may be included before 2.0 Final is released, but this list is really more of a near term set of goals from our long term list that will realistically take a few months to get in place initially and refinements and improvements may continue for years.
Onward and upward!
-David E. Jones
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