Project of the Month - March 2006
Description of projectThe aim of this project is to allow SugarCRM users to manage osCommerce customers, orders and products through the sugar interface while osCommerce customers can update their information through the osCommerce interface.
Why are you a leading contributor in the SugarCRM community? What are the benefits that you experience from your involvement?
When i was working at Barrett Consulting Group, we decided to upgrade the internal CRM system and to automate as many business processes as possible. SugarCRM matched our requirements closest but also had the ability to extend the functionality through modules. One of the other requirements was to setup an e-commerce system and integrate it into the CRM system. After looking around at multiple OS e-commerce systems, i decided on osCommerce. Before i even started the integration i knew i was leaving the company in January so my boss and i decided to release it as open source, get the functionality up to the level we required, then let other developers continue my work after i leave.
This was my first open source project, and i know its a relatively small one, but it taught me a lot about managing an open source project including dealing with support, questions about the design, and upgrades.
What other projects have you been involved with on SugarForge.org?
I contributed some code in January which removed the limitation of only being able to set up certain relationships through the soap interface, but i don't think it has been implemented in SugarCRM yet.
What inspired you to create this project?
It was one of the requirements for automating business processes in the company but my boss and i decided to release it as open source because we use a lot of open source applications and wanted give something back to the community.
What business pain points were you solving specifically?
We had an e-commerce system and a CRM system which needed to talk to each other to eliminate manual data entry between the systems.
Is there anything that the users should know about those? Something hidden/new in these modules? Think of this as an opportunity to describe how it works to a user.
The core of this integration is SOAP. This is a communication protocol which allows the integration to work when SugarCRM and osCommerce are located on separate machines as well as the same machine. I needed to create a new SOAP interface for osCommerce because one didn't exist. i also needed to modify the existing SugarCRM SOAP interface because i couldn't setup relationships between certain modules through it. So when an interaction is needed between the two systems, a library is used to make the SOAP calls on both sides
What would you say to encourage additional community participation?
One of the things that makes an open source project like SugarCRM great is its community. People with all levels of experience come up with ideas to improve the project from all around the world. You don't need to start a new module to help out, you can just provide smaller things like develop or suggest a new feature, re-write a function or provide support to others in need of help. The more people give something back to the community, the better the project will be for you, your company and the community.
What do you want to build next for Sugar Suite?
It would have been nice to keep developing this integration to make it more complete but because i do not work with these two systems any more, I can't.
Past Projects of the Month