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From David E Jones <jone...@undersunconsulting.com>
Subject Re: Business Framework Project
Date Tue, 22 Jan 2008 19:48:40 GMT

On Jan 22, 2008, at 8:41 AM, Ahmad Khalifa wrote:

> J Aaron Farr wrote:
>> Ahmad Khalifa <ahmad@khalifa.ws> writes:
>>> Ultimately, what this would be good for, is to offer several
>>> pre-built applications along the lines of CRM, ERP, Accounting, POS,
>>> etc... just like some already available applications, but the extra
>>> customization features would make it much more adaptable/ 
>>> extendable to
>>> organizations, and much easier to extend to more business domains.
>> I understand it's technically different from OFBiz, but have you
>> looked at Apache OFBiz?  Would it be something that team could use?
>>  http://ofbiz.apache.org/
>
> I have taken a look at OFBiz. From what I understand in OFBiz you  
> create
> your entities, views, db table mappings, and business logic in Java,  
> and
> XML.
>
> This approach is much different. It defines those things in the  
> database
> and interprets them at runtime from the database. i.e. there is no  
> such
> thing as 'Accounts.xml' or 'Employees.java', etc...
>
> I don't see OFBiz benefiting from this at all. Unless they're  
> willing to
> do a huge re-write. On the other hand, what this project could use  
> from
> the OFBiz project, is the already developed logic they have. It is  
> much
> more mature in terms of the already created business functionality.

Being one of the architects of the OFBiz Framework I'm obviously  
biased toward that approach in general. It sounds like it would share  
some of the same ideals, like working with higher level artifacts and  
avoiding code generation. OFBiz is definitely XML-heavy (intentionally  
for now... ie until a better alternative surfaces), and has touch  
points all over the place to use lower level tools like Java classes/ 
methods and templating tools.

The idea of putting all business level stuff in the database is  
interesting, but I'm still a skeptic. You can certainly build revision  
control around it, but how do you get the same combination of off-line  
and remote work along with team collaboration and group effort  
synchronization? I guess you could build that too, ie some sort of  
database sync/merge. I have never done this formally, but based on  
discussions and informal cost/benefit comparison... well... I guess it  
is enough to say that I'm still a skeptic. ;)

There are various commercial vendors doing this sort of thing. Most  
are aimed at having doing infrastructure for a centralized ASP-style  
environment, ie where there is one big application and people build or  
extend apps through web-based interfaces and everything lives on the  
server. The ultimate in lock-in, and an nice enabler of over- 
centralization (which I think most open source proponents realize the  
danger and downside of...). That's a good motivation for database  
driven business data structures, logic, screens, etc.

Anyway, the two commercial companies that come to mind who are doing  
things this way are Tenfold Software and Bungee Labs.

BTW, Compiere actually works more or less this way. Ie, things are  
heavily database-driven.

If you get to the point where you start looking at data modeling and  
the logic tier stuff, feel free to collaborate with us at OFBiz. More  
eyes on this stuff is always a good thing! Okay, well 98% of the  
time. ;)

-David



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