Friday, 2014-12-19

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CarlosRuizHello, anybody here?16:26
bkuhngreetings, CarlosRuiz .16:48
CarlosRuizhello bkuhn17:00
CarlosRuizI was reading today about sfconservancy17:01
bkuhngreetings, CarlosRuiz.17:01
bkuhnI'm glad!17:01
CarlosRuizand found interesting that you're trying to create an accounting software for NPO17:01
bkuhnWe're trying, slowly but surely. :)17:01
CarlosRuizI'm one of the leaders of
CarlosRuizan open source ERP software17:02
CarlosRuizand of course one of the modules we have in the software is accounting17:02
bkuhnIs it at all similar to ADempiere?17:02
CarlosRuizyes - we departed from Adempiere in 201017:03
bkuhnYou'll see our evaluation of ADempiere at  If you want to fill out a new evaluation form for yours, noting in particular how it differs we'd love that.17:04
bkuhnMeanwhile, one of my medium-term plans (hopefully in the next 16 months or so) is to solidify our API somewhat, and I hope to actually offer patches to many projects, perhaps idempiere as well, to use our accounting API.17:04
bkuhnCarlosRuiz: did you implement double-entry accounting from scratch?17:05
bkuhn(Most projects seem to)17:05
CarlosRuiziDempiere (inherited from Compiere) has an interesting approach to accounting17:05
CarlosRuizaccounting is a datawarehouse - collecting all possible facts from all the events that happen in a company17:06
CarlosRuizand from there - accounting reporting is similar to what you do in a Business Intelligence project - dimensions, cubes, analytical information17:08
bkuhnIt should be possible to use the API we're working on if you wanted to.17:09
bkuhnBut do you have a double-entry system and logic already?17:09
CarlosRuizyes - accounting is part of the ERP17:10
CarlosRuizI mean - double-entry accounting17:11
CarlosRuizI'm wondering what is the goal of the npoacct project - is just accounting?  or you plan to support the full process for NPO (like bank, purchasing)17:16
bkuhnCarlosRuiz: we18:23
bkuhn'll do what we can for NPOs.18:23
bkuhnAccounting is the first step.18:23
bkuhnThe problem I've seen with many ERP applications is they are too complex and require a substantial time investment for the organization to begin using them.18:23
bkuhnI would hate to repeat that mistake.18:23
CarlosRuizwell - it depends on the goal you want to achieve18:25
bkuhnMost ERP applications have been developed with a specific market segment in mind, and they are not particularly adaptable to other markets.18:25
CarlosRuizI read the evaluation template18:25
CarlosRuizand I think iDempiere can cope with all of that - but is a different point of view18:25
CarlosRuizaccounting is not the center of the application - and not the first step - accounting is a result of the operations of the company18:26
bkuhnCarlosRuiz: yes, any ERP systems claim that and then make it difficult to do the basic accounting reports that most NPOs need.18:26
bkuhnI have attempted to deploy many different ERP systems for non-profits over the last 15 years.18:27
bkuhnThey time investment is huge and the auditors are still angry they can't get the reports  they need.18:27
bkuhnIf there's tutorial on how to do all these accounting things that we're trying to solve with iDempiere out of the box from an apt-get install, I'll be very interested to follow your tutorial.18:28
bkuhnI didn't decide to start a different project lightly by any means, as you can see in our wiki, we evaluated many systems first.18:28
CarlosRuizI'm sure that iDempiere is ready to be used in an NPO - probably without any customization - is just a matter of configuration18:29
CarlosRuizbut of course the learning curve is steep - as in any ERP18:29
bkuhnThat's a serious problem and it's why these ERP systems are never going to be widely used by non-profit orgs.18:30
CarlosRuizwe can help  - specially for an organization with the goal of sfconservancy18:30
bkuhnThey just can't afford the learning curve.18:30
bkuhnCarlosRuiz: as I said, if you write a tutorial that shows how everything a fiscal sponsor needs to do can be done with iDempiere, I'll dutifully follow the tutorial and give feedback.18:30
CarlosRuizsorry - it won't work that way  :-(18:31
bkuhnI'm confused, what way would it work?18:31
bkuhnhow else could a non-profit figure out how to use your system for non-profit needs?18:31
bkuhnwithout being told how?18:31
CarlosRuizI mean - I'm not eager to write a tutorial in order to allow somebody to do a proof of concept - there are lots of howtos out there18:33
bkuhnAre you aware of any fiscal sponsor non-profit using iDempiere today?18:34
CarlosRuizbut - what I say is - if you would be willing to evaluate unbiasedly the capabitilites of iDempiere on a NGO - I'll be eager to help with that18:35
CarlosRuizwe help a lot in iDempiere forums to anybody evaluating the system - is very common18:35
bkuhnCarlosRuiz: It seems you just want me to spend a lot of time figuring out if iDempiere can do very basic things and haven't even given me enough info to get started.18:37
bkuhnMany folks have been by to ask us to do that.18:37
bkuhnWe figured out that if we did this for every ERP code base , it would be a multi-year project.18:37
bkuhnAs Josh mentioned on the ADempiere evaluation -- the code seems impenetrable.18:37
bkuhnCarlosRuiz: I also notice that iDempiere isn't even packaged for Debian yet, although it seems has some detailed instructions that would take some time to penetrate by themselves.18:38
CarlosRuizthat debian installer works with "dpkg -i"18:41
bkuhnCarlosRuiz: Is there a tutorial on how to import existing accounting data into iDempiere?18:42
CarlosRuizprobably you see "code is impenetrable" because we're talking about millions of lines of code18:42
bkuhnYes, but are any of the APIs for any of the submodules and documented?18:42
bkuhnFor example, if I just wanted to use your accounting module, how would I do it?18:42
CarlosRuizyou don't need to touch the code for that18:43
CarlosRuizis just to install and use accounting - although I would not recommend that at all18:43
bkuhnCarlosRuiz: how do I import all the data I have?18:44
bkuhnWhere's the tutorial on that?18:44
bkuhnAnd what does it mean to "use accounting"?18:44
bkuhnAnd why do you recommend that an organization not do its accounting?18:44
bkuhnI'm sorry to be so glib:18:44
bkuhnBut I've interacted with ERP communities many times in this project, and for the decades before when trying to find a system that will work easily for small non-profits.18:45
bkuhnThe problem is that they want to take over your whole operation.18:45
bkuhnTo train all your staff to do things a new way18:45
bkuhnI'm sure that way is great for the places that have taken to it.18:45
CarlosRuizdepending on what you expect - if you want a step-by-step tutorial - then is better to follow the book18:45
bkuhnBut NPOs never want to do that; they do it as a last resport.18:45
CarlosRuizby "use accounting" I mean - when you install the software - of course the accounting is there - is just to create your company and fill GL Journal documents18:46
bkuhnI don't have a company, I have a non-profit org.18:46
CarlosRuizbut "I don't recommend that" because that's the way of accounting software - not ERP18:46
CarlosRuizin ERP you fill documents like invoices, payments, bank statements18:46
CarlosRuizand the accounting happens automatically in the background18:46
bkuhnCarlosRuiz: here's an example, what if I want to generate an invoice but not accrue it?18:47
bkuhnIs there a way to tell iDempiere to do that?18:47
CarlosRuizyes - as simple as use a document type called "ProForma Invoice"18:48
bkuhnSo, I've been looking at your website while we've been talking, I can't seem to find any API documentation at all.18:50
CarlosRuizBTW - the book I mentioned above is this
bkuhnThat book is on ADempiere though, not iDempiere.18:50
CarlosRuizas I mentioned - we departed from Adempiere - so is 100% applicable in functionality18:51
bkuhnSo back to my original question...18:51
bkuhn... we evaluated Adempiere, how will iDempiere suit the goals of our project better than Adempiere?18:51
CarlosRuizwhat I read the evaluation of Adempiere is summarized to a single phrase18:52
CarlosRuizthere is not any analysis below the top comments18:53
CarlosRuizof course iDempiere (and Adempiere) have Trial Balance, and Bank Reconciliation18:53
CarlosRuizand all the reports mentioned there18:53
bkuhnIt can do fund based accounting?18:53
CarlosRuizand they can be split by fund18:53
bkuhnCan you point me to the tutorial that explains this?18:54
CarlosRuizand there is no need for "tracking documentation" because the documents are the origin of the accounting18:54
bkuhnCarlosRuiz: can you show  me the API for that?18:54
CarlosRuizbut in iDempiere when analyzing the accounting you can double click and navigate to the origin document18:54
bkuhn"original document"?  There is never just one document with regard to a transaction.18:54
CarlosRuizand iDempiere (and Adempiere) is multi-currency - with the approach of "single functional currency" mentioned in the document18:55
CarlosRuizand there are draft transactions and configurable workflows to approve them18:55
bkuhnEvery ERP system has these, but they are rarely configurable enough and are almost always biased toward for-profit needs, which are different.18:56
bkuhnThat's why what's most important for the codebase we build our project around to have accessible API documentation, where is that for iDempiere?18:56
CarlosRuizto be ERP is a must to have that - many little-accounting systems tend to be named as ERP when they're not18:56
bkuhnAlso, do you have any examples of a user in the non-profit space who is using iDempiere?18:56
CarlosRuizThat's a better question for forums - as we don't have a list of companies using the software - but I know there must be thousands of installations18:57
CarlosRuizand the API's - yes - we have documentation about that - but iDempiere is constructed in a way that you can customize without touching the core18:58
CarlosRuizso, mostly you just need to write small extensions18:58
CarlosRuizthat's fully documented with tutorials and youtubevideos18:58
CarlosRuizis a pluggable architecture18:59
bkuhnLook, I apologize if I'm being dismissive, but please realize that at some point or other, someone from nearly every major ERP system has come here pitching their system in exactly the way you're describing.18:59
CarlosRuizso in principle you don't need (and is expected you must not) to touch the core18:59
bkuhnI could spend the rest of my career going to each one and figuring out if it can be adapted for non-profit needs.18:59
CarlosRuizI'm not trying to "sell" you anything  :-D18:59
bkuhnMost people who come by, like you, don't even know of a fiscal sponsor trying to use it.19:00
bkuhnI came to the conclusion long ago that there are just too many of these ERP codebases and all of them are too complex and single-language focused and lack APIs that let you take parts of the codebase and work with it.19:00
CarlosRuizI came here because I saw the project page - and thought that maybe I can help the project to avoid reinventing the wheel19:01
bkuhnThe wheel doesn't exist, that's the problem.19:01
CarlosRuizbut most of what I read is that the conclusion was taken long time ago - biased against ERP and more prone to a simple accounting system19:01
CarlosRuizthe wheel exists :-)19:01
bkuhnPeople show up and say: "I have a James Bond sports car that converts to an SUV and a boat, it's complicated to drive, read all this stuff, and you'll see.  Just spend a few months learning our system..."19:01
CarlosRuizis called iDempiere19:01
bkuhnAnd I say: "show me how to take the wheel off so I can just roll the wheel down a hill"19:02
bkuhnAnd they say, as you are: "Why would anyone want to do that?"19:02
bkuhnIf I want to divorce the accounting module away from iDempiere, and just want to do accounting, nothing else, and write to some API, where is it?19:03
CarlosRuizI can teach you how to take the wheel off in iDempiere - and even construct your own car - but I think is wrong to take that as the starting point19:03
bkuhnSo, Conservancy has its data in Ledger-CLI today.  So do some other small non-profits.19:04
bkuhnHow do I import the data I have to iDempiere and start working?19:04
bkuhnIf it takes more than a day, it's just too long.19:04
CarlosRuizif you can convert the data to a CSV - you just import it and is done19:04
bkuhnThe problem I see with most ERP systems, unless you're willing to commit to them for all your operations RIGHT NOW, and invest the steep learning curve RIGHT now, there's little to make use of.19:05
CarlosRuizBTW - in IDempiere the accounting is pluggable - so you can write a plugin to write your own way19:05
bkuhnCan you show me the API documentation for that?19:05
CarlosRuizI'm not sure what do you understand about API - but there are some tutorials about how to create custom accounting plugins19:07
CarlosRuizbkuhn, I'm sorry, I didn't want to disturb you in any way - I just wanted to be helpful in case you want to really have the best solution (wheel) actually invented  ;-)19:10
CarlosRuizin case you want to do some trials I can help you in iDempiere forums!forum/idempiere19:10
CarlosRuizI'll be glad if you allow us to19:10
bkuhnCarlosRuiz: I appreciate your offer, I really do.  I am sure you find that many users are happy with iDempiere and it works for them.  But if you can't show me a non-profit org that's been able to deploy it and meet their reporting needs and other issues with it, and have been through an audit, it's hard for me to be able to determine that it'd be the right starting point.19:11
bkuhnYou've said the same things that the Adempiere folks, and OpenERP folks, and the Tryton folks, and every other ERP community advocate that's come by.19:11
bkuhnSo, think of it from my perspective:19:11
bkuhnThey all say they have the best sports car that if I  just spend weeks figure out how to drive it, I'll see it's the best....19:12
bkuhn... and I say: "Let me play with the wheels"19:12
bkuhnand they say: "I can't help you play with the wheels, that would take weeks too"19:12
bkuhnThen I ask: "Ok, let me talk to a non-profit org user who has made this work for them"19:12
bkuhnAnd they say: "I bet there's a non-profit org using this, but I don't know one"19:12
bkuhnI ask around the non-profit orgs I know:19:13
bkuhnthey all have either a proprietary solution, or they had to custom-write one b/c nothing available (Open Source and Free Software or proprietary) met their needs.19:13
CarlosRuizwe're talking about a java software with 1.278.602 lines of code - if you expect to learn that in less than one day - then I'm sorry - you need a different software - more like a spreadsheet19:13
bkuhnYes, of course: I'm sure that the system *does* a lot of great stuff.19:14
bkuhnBut it wasn't designed in a way to let people use part of it, it's all or nothing.19:14
bkuhnIn my experiences most ERP systems are like that.19:14
CarlosRuizas I understood from the project - you're wanting to create something for NPO because you don't know about any tool - but you refuse to think about one if is not used by one NPO ?19:14
bkuhnCarlosRuiz: here's the dilemma:  the only way to figure out of one of these ERP codebases would work for an NPO is to try it out. (AFAICT)19:15
CarlosRuizand again - you can use just accounting from iDempiere if that's what you want - just that I would not recommend that - but is feasible - and a valid approach to start getting use19:15
bkuhnI tried OpenERP years ago, I used it for 6 weeks to keep the books.19:15
bkuhnIt was a disaster, it couldn't do things in a NPO way.19:15
bkuhnit required massive reconfiguration to do it.19:15
bkuhnBut it took 6 weeks of using it find that out, the problems are subtle.19:16
bkuhnSo, I could spend the next 2 years, try all these codebases and see if they can work.19:16
bkuhnFind all the flaws, and figure out which is the one that's closest.19:16
bkuhnOr, I can find a non-profit already using one.19:17
bkuhnBut the fact that NO non-profit orgs use any of these big ERP Open Source and Free Software codebases is telling.19:17
bkuhnAnd, you and everyone else wants me to be the first, each of you wants to penetrate that market.19:17
bkuhnI get that: sure.19:17
CarlosRuizis telling that some free software can be tailored for NPOs19:18
bkuhnBut it's clear to me I'm going to have to spend the next year of my life in any of these codbases to get it tehre.19:18
CarlosRuizbut you're wrong about that - I don't want to penetrate that market19:18
bkuhnI agree, probably *any* of these codebases can get there.19:18
CarlosRuiziDempiere is community open source19:18
CarlosRuizwe're not commercial open source19:18
CarlosRuizso I don't gain anything if you use it or not19:18
bkuhnThose terms are just too vague; they seem meaningless to me.19:18
CarlosRuizBradley, I think you and me have similar goals - we want to preserve open source and make it available to more people19:19
bkuhnWell, I am a Free Software person, not an Open Source one, but I agree with you generally.19:20
CarlosRuizbut as I told you - I came here just to be helpful - sounds like you didn't like my suggestion19:20
CarlosRuizso - we can simply leave it there - I'm not selling you anything19:20
bkuhnWell, it's not that I don't like it, but you can see it from my point of view?19:20
CarlosRuizI'm not interested in "NPOs market"19:20
bkuhnEvery ERP system out there that's Open Source and Free Software (and there are at least a dozen), have made the same pitch you did.19:20
bkuhnbasically : "We can do this, our code can get there, let's collaborate"19:21
CarlosRuizwell - that's not written in the evaluation pages - I didn't see any pitch from Adempiere  :-)19:21
bkuhnEvery time I look closely at the projects, I'm like: "Hmm, it'd take me months to figure out if this codebase can get us there quickly or not"19:21
CarlosRuizwhy do you need to figure out the codebase - do you need to know the linux codebase to use it?19:21
bkuhnWell, an Adempiere person came by IRC at one point, I didn't update the wiki with it, I should have. :)19:21
bkuhnCarlosRuiz: I *have* to assume modifications will be needed.  Again, unless you can exhibit an USA-based NPO that's using the codebase successfully.19:22
bkuhnat the very least, I'll have to get the thing packaged for debian officially, get a bunch of custom configurations written, etc.19:23
bkuhnMaybe I don't need to modify core, I can't be sure at this point.19:23
CarlosRuizand I tell you that iDempiere is pluggable - and modifications can be done without touching the core - that was the main goal after we departed from Adempiere - and we achieved it with OSGi architecture19:23
bkuhnBut it's months of technical work for sure, whether it's writing configurations, plugins, modifying core, whatever.19:23
bkuhnThe problem I have is that everyone wants me to commit to a marriage before I can date. :)19:24
bkuhnThis is why Ledger-CLI intrigued me: I was able to date it for 2 years before I had to commit. (at the time, I was married to GNUCash :)19:24
CarlosRuizI'm not offering you a marriage - I'm offering help in our iDempiere forums in case you want to do an unbiased analysis19:25
bkuhnI know I'm making some silly analogies, but I'm trying to give it to you from my perspective.19:25
CarlosRuizbut seems like you're already married - so you don't want to date with other potentially bigger solutions  ;-)19:25
bkuhnCarlosRuiz: honestly, I think the best help would be if you could find a non-profit manager/accountant who is using iDempiere at their non-profit.19:25
bkuhnThat would make the biggest difference.19:26
CarlosRuiz:-)  you want to do a NPO software because you say there is no one in the market - but you require one ACTUAL user to consider it  :-)19:26
CarlosRuizis not consistent19:26
bkuhnWell, that's my point: iDempiere was designed for for-profits.19:26
bkuhnso was every other ERP19:27
bkuhnMaybe one of them can be adapted for non-profit needs.19:27
bkuhnFiguring that out is months of investigation.19:27
CarlosRuizbut I can tell you that is so well designed that it can be easily tailored for non-profits19:27
bkuhnWe did a simple eval process which really asked the question: "Can we be sure with some confidence this codebase can work?"19:27
bkuhnCarlosRuiz: I just can't trust you on that since you've never run a non-profit or done accounting for a non-profit.19:27
CarlosRuizand yes - I'm not going to tell you that you can do that in one day - but I can ensure you is less days that reinventing the wheel19:28
bkuhnYou've never been through a non-profit audit.19:28
bkuhnAnd, CarlosRuiz, that's *exactly* what every  single ERP community says to us too! :)19:28
CarlosRuizthat's why I said I'm eager to help you - you have the requirements and I can help you to solve them19:29
bkuhnOpenERP, Tryton, Adempiere, ERPNext, etc.19:29
bkuhnthey offered the same help.19:29
bkuhnSo, what do I do?19:29
bkuhnFlip coins?19:29
bkuhnI guess I could.19:29
bkuhnBut, the thing I saw when looking at these codebases.19:29
bkuhnIs that they are self-contained.19:29
bkuhnThey don't have clear multi-language API walls19:29
bkuhnSo, my thought is, why not *do that*.19:29
CarlosRuizah - then there is where you asked me about the difference between Adempiere and iDempiere19:30
bkuhnIf my approach is sound, in a year or two, I'll be able to contribute a patch to iDempiere that can use our API for accounting storage and manipulation.19:30
CarlosRuizand what you just said can be true for Adempiere19:30
CarlosRuizself-contained - hard to extend19:30
CarlosRuizbut iDempiere followed the pluggable approach19:30
CarlosRuizto make it easy to extend - our goal is you don't need to touch the core19:31
bkuhnSo, right, and you said that, and that got me interested:19:31
bkuhnb/c if it's pluggable, there should be an easy to use API that lets me just mess with accounting data, right?19:31
bkuhnIs it a RESTful  API?19:31
bkuhncan I call it from many programming langauges?19:32
CarlosRuizeasy to create that if that's what you need19:33
bkuhnOk, so now we're getting somewhere, can you point me in the basic direction of that?19:33
bkuhn(I realize no one has probably ever tried to do that with iDempiere, so I don't expect it to be spelled out yet, but I promise I'll spend 3 hours to take a look later at that idea if you can give me the basics to get started.)19:34
CarlosRuizno way you'll get it in 3 hours19:35
CarlosRuizBradley - nice to meet you - as I said I'll be eager to help you discover the power of iDempiere if you want - in our forums!forum/idempiere19:47
CarlosRuizbkuhn, it was nice to see your point of view, c u then19:47
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