xTupler #3 — The Holiday Edition

Monday, December 1, 2008

xTupler #3  | December 2008

Dear Community —

Happy Holidays!

2008 was an exciting year for xTuple, and demand for our software has never been stronger. We've seen over 185,000 downloads of the PostBooks edition of xTuple ERP, and we consistently rank among the top 10 most active projects at SF.net. Despite the economic slowdown, or perhaps because of it, there's never been a better time to be working with open source ERP.

We've always been popular with small and medium-sized businesses, especially in the manufacturing and distribution sectors, but this year we've had some major interest from Global 1000 companies --We are working with several large enterprises who believe in the power of open source ERP, and in particular xTuple's combination of advanced features and active community development. We are excited to be working with them to address their complex business issues, and look forward to telling you more about these solutions in the coming year.

As a result of this growth, we more than doubled our staff in 2008, and have continued building out the office space we purchased in downtown Norfolk, Virginia. If you're ever in the area, please stop in and say hello!

We've also increased our outreach to users and customers. This newsletter, started back in October, is one way we're improving communications with our community, but we've also hosted more training sessions this year than ever before. Next year we're looking to offer even more, including plans for the first xTuple User Conference later in 2009. We're also always interested in bringing the training to international audiences - if you'd like to see an xTuple class in your area, please contact us at training@xtuple.com.

And there's an upgrade to the xTuple.com and xTuple.org websites coming early next year, aimed at providing more tools for collaboration, training, and sharing of scripts and extensions. (more on that below!)

The xTuple ERP software, of course, is what we're all about, and we've applied ourselves tirelessly to adding advanced features, such as Average Costing, Kitting, and Application Scripting to the product. In the second half of 2008 we released versions 3.0 and 3.1, and we're on track for a final release of version 3.2 in January. We'll accompany that release, of course, with all new videos to demonstrate and explain the new functionality. Those videos are one of the most popular areas of our websites.

We hope that 2008 was good to you too, and we wish everyone Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year in 2009!


BC Wilson
Director of Internet Communications

New Training Dates

Intro to xTuple ERP class to be offered February 23

We know ERP is complicated. We're always impressed by the self-guided learners out there who can pick up PostBooks and get down to business right away. Our demo guide and demo videos, of course, can help you get a flavor for the software and it's features. But to really learn the software there's no better way than to sit down with our Director of Product Training and a room of your peers in other companies, and go through the full process of setting up, configuring and using xTuple ERP.

We offer our Intro to the xTuple Applications class three or four times a year, and the next one is scheduled for February 23, 2009. The class begins Monday morning and ends Friday afternoon. It's a commitment, we know. But we honestly feel if you're going to trust all your business processes to a piece of software, it's worth a week of your time to learn it. We love to teach this class because it's incredible to see people come in with the vaguest idea of what ERP can do, and leave fully empowered to put our powerful tools to work to change their business.

We hope you'll join us for this next class or for one in the future. Please reply to training@xtuple.com for more information or to sign up now.

3.2 Beta 2 Now Available

New version of xTuple ERP adds many features to CRM, EDI, and OpenRPT

We're happy to annouce the second beta release of xTuple ERP version 3.2 (PostBooks, Standard, and Manufacturing Editions). You can download the beta at our Sourceforge project site. We're shooting for a Release Candidate by Monday, December 22.

New in the beta cycle:

  • Accounts Payable Workbench
  • Vendor Information Workbench
  • Disassembly Work Orders
  • CRM Alarms
  • Send Email for Events
  • Optional Report Query Storage in Database
  • One-to-Many Item Sources per Item
  • Support for Item Source Manufacturer Data

Previously announced in the alpha release:

Freight Pricing

CRM Enhancements

  • Graphical calendar view for To-Do list
  • Document Ownership
  • To-Do alarms
  • E-mail notice for Incident
  • Document links for Account and Incident

Reference Designators on BOM

EDI for Checks

 New OpenRPT Features

  • Added crosstab object
  • Ability to print images from files on disk
  • Added zooming functionality
  • Drag selection of multiple items
  • Added group alignment tools

OpenRPT Update

Features added to free report writer

OpenRPT is our favorite little giveaway--the tool that everyone needs for generating nice-looking reports from your data. And it just got a lot better, thanks to the efforts of veteran xTuple developer Chris Ryan.

The big three changes, according to Chris, are

  • Redesigned writer interface to be more WYSIWYG
  • Better support for selection and align objects across sections
  • Added support for changing the color of fonts and border/fill of boxes

There are a host of other improvements and bug fixes, all covered in the release notes.

Remember, OpenRPT comes as part of the xTuple ERP software, but you can can also download it separately.

Employee Showcase

Chris Ryan, Senior Developer

Chris Ryan has been a part of xTuple from the beginning, steadily improving the software.

He's the guy who always asks, "why are you making this complicated?" and then without fail presents his own elegant, and much simpler solution. He's xTuple's own Occam's Razor.

Chris is responsible for the recent overhaul of OpenRPT, as well as countless contributions to xTuple ERP, including the upcoming calendaring feature.

In his free time, Chris flies planes and shapes wood. He also plays Wii with his son, and practices karate. He often carries his katana to work, which, of course, he only unsheaths when he intends to kill you.

Call for Participation: The xTuple xChange

Share your extensions to xTuple ERP with the world

Got a custom report you want to share with the world? A cool Web app that hooks into your xTuple ERP system? Maybe even a new module that loads into xTuple ERP?

As many of you know, starting with version 3.0, xTuple ERP has included the ability to build and edit custom Screens in the application, as well as support for Qt's implementation of Javascript to further customize your xTuple user experience. In version 3.1, we added support for Packages (which can include custom screens, scripts, and reports) - and in the upcoming version 3.2, we'll add a fully-functional embedded copy of the Qt Designer tool, making it even easier for non-programmers to get involved.

Starting in January, we'll have an online marketplace for sharing stuff like that with the global xTuple user community. We call it the xTuple xChange. Like xTuple the company, the xChange will support both free / open source software and paid offerings. There is no charge to list your software offerings on the xChange, and xTuple staff will review all submissions before posting them. Free software will be available for immediate download; paid software will be QA tested, and available for purchase by credit card, bank debit, or Paypal.

This is a great opportunity for community members to share and benefit from each others' experience, and for xTuple Partners to gain additional revenues from sales of add-on software. Here's a preview of some of the goodies in store:

  • A loadable Retail/Point-of-Sale module (built with Screen Builder and Scripting)
  • A package for integrating xTuple with the Drupal content management system
  • A package for integrating xTuple with the OSCommerce shopping cart
  • An xTuple ERP client for wireless handheld devices
  • Dozens of custom report definitions and scripting enhancements

Would you like to add to that list? Whether your proposed enhancement will be free or paid, drop us a line at partners@xtuple.com, and tell us your vision! We'd love to work with you to help make it happen.

Help Spread the Word

Like PostBooks? Wanna help?

It's easy! Just click the "Add This" button above to bookmark xTuple.com on delicious, digg, reddit or another site where you have an account. Every bookmark you add helps our search engine rankings.

And for extra credit:

  • Add yourself to the PostBooks Project on Sourceforge.net
  • Add yourself to the following sites (make sure to join the PostBooks project there):

Attention PostBooks Users!

Now you can purchase bundles of prepaid support directly from xTuple, in increments of as little as five hours. The more you buy, the more you save.

5 hours - $1500
10 hours - $2500
20 hours - $4500
30 hours - $6000
40 hours - $7500

Contact sales@xtuple.com or +1-757-461-3022 for more information.