Project of the Month - June 2008
Sugar Portal for Joomla
Description of project
To allow joomla users to create and manage their Sugar cases from within joomla.
Why are you a leading contributor in the SugarCRM community? What are the benefits that you experience from your involvement?
First off, a big thank you goes out to all of the Sugar Community. Many of us share the same needs and issues. Through the power of collaboration, we as a community are able to both fulfill those needs and address those issues. There are several benefits to being involved with the Sugar Community, but two stand out. First, you get to work with a bunch of great individuals out there. Second, since a good CRM such as Sugar is such an integral piece to many organizations you gain a vast knowledge of not just Sugar but also about your organization's processes and it's various dependent systems.
What other projects have you been involved with on SugarForge.org?
Many of the projects I'm involved with got started due to my organization's needs. Besides Sugar Portal for Joomla, I currently head up Security Suite, ExchangeSync, Contracts, Queues and RoleOwner (a 4.5.1 precursor to Security Suite). Many of these are being updated right now for Sugar 5.0.
What inspired you to create this project?
There already was a very popular Sugar Portal for Mambo project out there. It just made sense to enhance that project and put it out there for all of the Joomla users out there. There was a demand for a Joomla portal and it was a natural transition due to Joomla being born from Mambo.
What business pain points were you solving specifically?
Like many other organizations out there we needed to open up our private Sugar install to our customers. We needed to "close the loop" with our customers. To do that, they needed to have the ability to submit and view the status of cases as well as view the status of bugs. We didn't want to give direct access to Sugar, of course, so we looked for a portal solution. The Sugar Portal for Mambo was our answer. There were several problems that we ran into though. There wasn't an updated version, there were various bugs with it, it wasn't the speediest, and it was a bit klunky looking. I addressed those issues with our Mambo install which was then mostly ported over to the Sugar Portal for Joomla project. "Mostly" but not "completely" because some customizations were specific to the SOAP API for our install.
Is there anything that the users should know about those? Something hidden/new in this project? Think of this as an opportunity to describe how it works to a user.
You can get a bunch of mileage with the SOAP API as it stands right now. Of course, there's room for more power but you can always play around under the hood to get that. Using the SOAP API, the Joomla portal is able to provide the user with a clean interface to view and manage their cases and bugs. They'll have the ability to watch progress and add additional notes and attachments. They'll get added value out of it as support contacts update the case, add notes and attachments. They'll also be able to search quickly for a specific bug or case number on the list view or go to a search page with an optional advanced search view. As an administrator you'll be able to set exactly how you want the portal to look from what fields to show on the list view, what fields they should be able to edit/submit and what fields should show on the detail page. You'll also have the ability to change the field labels, set default drop down values and set the desired field sizes in addition to other set up options.
What would you say to encourage additional community participation?
Phil, the developer for the previous Project of the Month, said it best last month. " The more you contribute, the more you get back... The more you do the better the software will get, and the more you (and the rest of the community) will benefit." There are many ways to participate from developing and testing to creating language packs. Probably the most important thing is giving suggestions and ideas. Just like elsewhere in life you will receive back many times over what you ever would contribute.
What do you want to build next for Sugar Suite?
I'm very excited about my current project Security Suite. It works much like Teams except it gives you the ability to assign multiple security groups to records. This is ideal for more complex organization layouts and processes. Look for a production-ready release later this summer.
Anything else before we go?
If any of you are ever in the Twin Cities area and want to talk shop over a beverage shoot me an email.
Past Projects of the Month