State of OpenPetra in February 2019

Since the last update, a lot of time has passed. Also a lot of things have changed.

Without going into details, here are the major points:

  •  In summer 2017, I decided to stop the sync between the OM ICT version of OpenPetra and the Open Source OpenPetra. The reason for keeping the two forks in sync was that at one point, technology improvements would be merged back into the OM ICT branch of OpenPetra. But this did not happen, and it was too much work for just staying in sync. OM is busy working on rolling out their version of OpenPetra across most of their bases around the world, which is encouraging.
  • The split from OM meant, I could drop the Winforms client completely from the code, and the codebase was reduced significantly.
  • Work started in earnest on the Javascript client, with the goal that OpenPetra could be used in the web browser.
  • In summer 2018, a lot of work was sponsored by TBits.net on the Javascript client, with my apprentice working on it in full-time for a couple of months.
  • On August 1st 2018, the Nazareth Charity switched to an early version of OpenPetra running in the web browser.
  • In autumn 2018, TBits.net pulled out of OpenPetra, for various reasons.
  • In autumn 2018, I refactored the reporting engine, which makes it now a lot easier to write and understand reports.
  • On December 24th 2018, www.openpetra.com went online, which is a hosted service of OpenPetra for charities for an affordable price. This service is run by my own business, Timotheus Pokorra Software aka SolidCharity.com.
  • In the beginning of January 2019 the focus was on the manuals, in german and english. see https://docs.openpetra.org
  • In the end of January 2019, the annual gift receipt printing was introduced on OpenPetra in the web-browser, directly producing a PDF file from an HTML template.

I continue to work on OpenPetra as a minimum viable product. I want to know from real users if OpenPetra is going into the right direction.
I invite everyone to have a look at https://demo.openpetra.org for just playing around with non-real data.
If you are interested indeed, you are very much welcome to use your own instance of OpenPetra at https://www.openpetra.com. The first month is free, and the subscription is very much affordable and will ensure further development of OpenPetra.

I am hoping that users will support each other in the forum (https://forum.openpetra.org), and a community will be built.

For developers, or if you want to host your own OpenPetra, there are instructions https://github.com/SolidCharity/OpenPetraScripts/blob/master/Readme.md refering to useful scripts in the same repository, and links to the test RPM packages of OpenPetra.

My current goal is to target small charities, where the administration staff are not working full-time on administration. Just because the software is not ready yet for bigger organisations.

The long-term goal is for OpenPetra to grow to be usable by mid-size charities. But that will take time, and a lot of work.

Your input and feedback is much appreciated! Please join us in the forum!

All the best,
Timotheus Pokorra


     Tuesday, 5 February 19@ 12:41 pm UTC
 

Update October 2016: Current status of the project

There has not been a news update for the Open Source OpenPetra for ages. Nevertheless, the work has continued. Especially the friends at ICT have been busy working on stabilizing OpenPetra, and since December 2015 they are rolling out their internal version of OpenPetra to various offices around the world! That is a huge achievement, and reason to be thankful and proud (in a good way)!

One challenge has been to merge the changes from ICT back into the Open Source version of OpenPetra. Some bits are not needed for the Open Source OpenPetra, others are not allowed for licensing reasons. Some issues that are being solved in the closed ICT branch of OpenPetra deal with .NET remoting and database connections in AppDomains, which we don’t have in the Open Source version. Despite all that, we are now in sync again between the two OpenPetras, up to the latest July release. See the 2016-07 release on https://www.openpetra.org/download-openpetraorg

Unfortunately, there is still not a community around the Open Source OpenPetra. Therefore there has not been any progress on documentation, tutorials, and stabilizing the core functionality for a proper release. On the other hand, without that documentation and level of stability, it is hard to get people interested. Some people have expressed interest, and anyone is welcome to join us on the IRC or on the forum!

A lot of energy has gone into providing uptodate packages of Mono in Fedora and in Epel7 (for CentOS7). The effort was worth it: when CentOS 7.3 will be released probably around December 2016, then Mono 4.2 will be available in Epel7. You can already test it by enabling epel-testing. The aim is to not need a special copr repository or self hosted build of Mono to run OpenPetra in production on a CentOS server.

There has also been work on updating uncrustify to a newer version, which supports new features of C# 6. This project still has not been finished yet.

There are probably more things to mention, but hopefully the news updates will be more regular from now on…


     Wednesday, 5 October 16@ 4:34 am UTC
 

Update December 2014: work of past months and friendly fork

Statement from OM:

The last months have been used to on the one hand round off functionality that was nearly complete and on the other hand work on features that had not been started. As mentioned in the last News Update we work closely together with OM Switzerland on the future development. As a direct outcome of the visit to OM Switzerland the link between finance and partner information has been improved, which results in an easier workflow from a data entry perspective.

Looking at the future development of OpenPetra it became clear that OM has a number of unique requirements. Currently it’s impossible to come up with a generic solution in each case. To meet OM’s needs we felt it necessary to now start an OM specific private fork of the OpenPetra project. This does not mean the Open Source idea is abandoned, nor does it mean that the Open Source project will not be developed any further. OM will continue to be a major contributor to the OpenPetra Open Source project. Enhancements which are not OM-specific will be taken over and made publicly available. For this reason we named it a “friendly fork”.
When OM is forking off, Timotheus will take over the responsibility of maintaining the Open Source project. We believe that this is the way forward to serve both worlds best.

Notes from Timotheus:

In the past days, the code of OpenPetra has moved to Github: use the shortcut code.openpetra.org. This is one of several steps how we want to prepare the way for an active community of developers and users around OpenPetra. You will see more details for the infrastructure of the OpenPetra community appear first on the forum at forum.openpetra.org and later on the OpenPetra website and monthly updates mailinglist.

The copyright of OpenPetra will remain with OM. Therefore each developer that contributes towards OpenPetra needs to agree to a Contributor License Agreement which we still have to write down. This will make it easier to switch to another license in the future.

The new place to report issues for OpenPetra will be at Github: http://issues.openpetra.org

Today, we release a new version of OpenPetra, that contains all the work from the OM team up to the friendly fork, and also includes the extensions that Timotheus has worked on over the past 2 years. Please read the release notes for further details: OpenPetra 2014.12 Alpha

Timotheus will publish a roadmap towards a Beta for OpenPetra and a stable version soon.

You are welcome to discuss this news update in our new Discourse Forum!


     Friday, 5 December 14@ 7:19 am UTC
 
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