Update for the last eleven weeks until November 09th, 2011

Because the recent months have been very busy we didn’t find the time to write a two-monthly news update. Sorry! Here comes a delayed update on what’s happened in the OpenPetra project during that time.

  • We have released OpenPetra Version 0.2.12 Alpha on September 19th, 2011. Much work has been done in the area of the Finance Module, specifically in the General Ledger sub-system. For details see http://www.openpetra.org/en/download-openpetraorg/!
  • WolfgangB decided to hand over the project management of OpenPetra to MatthiasS. This hand-over has the full support of the core development team and the International IT leadership. WolfgangB is now focussing on software development.
  • MatthiasS has set up a project plan over the last months. In his new role as project manager he continues to review and prioritise tasks in order to manage the future direction of development. He also came up with a strategy for testing that will help to ensure that OpenPetra will become high-quality software.
  • TimotheusP has merged quite a few development branches to the main development line, including the ‘Donor Recipient History’ functionality, which was created earlier on by MatthiasH.
  • TimotheusP has also created a CentOS package for OpenPetra. JoachimM and TimotheusP have been working together on creating a Debian package for OpenPetra (CentOS and Debian are Linux distributions).
  • ChristopherT worked on the processing of the Admin Fees when posting a Gift Batch, which is part of his continued work on the International Clearing House sub-system of the Finance Module. He is converting many segments of the Petra 2.x program code into the C# programming language. Phase 1 of this work is now completed, Phase 2 has been started.
  • TimI has recently started working on the OpenPetra system. With a background in ‘back-end nuts and bolts’, TimI chose as his first OpenPetra job the file import and export facilities. Some code already existed in this area, so TimI has spent several weeks ‘beefing up’ the source code so that it exports and imports all supported fields, and copes appropriately with all the possible error conditions. The user interface is similar to that in Petra 2.x, although the various supported file formats now use a single user interface.
  • WolfgangB has implemented both the Relationships Tab and the Subscriptions Tab in the Partner Edit screen and is now working on the Local Partner Tab, which is also a part of the central Partner Edit screen.
  • AlanP has continued to work on four more Maintain Table screens and should complete this work soon.
  • ChristianK performed an investigation into various technical solutions and their estimated efforts for various ways of implementing a major part of the Personnel Module. The conclusion was that it can be done in the way that was most preferred by OM’s International Personnel staff – by implementing a ‘Personnel Data’ Tab Group in the Partner Edit screen that the user can simply switch to. ChristianK did the implementation, with three Individual Data screens of Petra 2.x (which use different features) already converted. Those can now be taken as a template for converting further screens.
  • ChristianK continues to be the point person for many of the technical questions that the new developers have and is continuing to improve technical documentation in our wiki.
  • Many errors in various parts of the application were fixed and the Partner Find screen got improved.
  • We had a 3-day developer meeting in Carlisle at the beginning of November. The aims were to again bring the core development team together in one place, with remote team members being present, to make decisions on a number of topics and to plan ahead for the next months. The meeting went very well, important decisions were made and we are all encouraged.
  • One of the outcomes of the meeting is that one more developer will be assigned to work on the Finance Module as soon as he has finished his current work on other things in OpenPetra. We also decided that we should approach one person to see if he would be interested in becoming a tester for OpenPetra.

“Technical bits”:

  • AlanP created the ‘OpenPetra Developer’s Assistant’, a very useful tool that raises the productivity of the software developers. It provides a graphical front-end to the otherwise commandline-centric tools that are used in the development of OpenPetra. It simplifies and speeds up many common tasks, captures and parses logfile output and makes working with several configurations and working in several branches easier.
  • AlanP investigated ways of documenting OpenPetra’s database schema in a more helpful, graphical way and found a good solution for that. We really liked the outcome when he showed it to us at the developer’s meeting and we asked him to go ahead with the implementation.
  • TimotheusP streamlined the source code in the Finance module. The result is cleaner and paves the way for further implementations in the Finance module. He also centralised source code that is responsible for the data transfer between the server and client parts of OpenPetra, making it easier to understand and test.
  • An effort was made to reduce the number of compiler warnings to lessen the ‘noise’ of the build outputs. Also, our build server got migrated from Hudson to Jenkins.
  • The Forms generator saw several improvements.
  • We can now create Solution and Project Files in the Visual Studio 2010 format (we had already support for the 2008 formats), again widening the choice of Integrated Development Environments for developers. Support for the new SharpDevelop 4.1 file formats is in the pipeline.


Thank you for your interest and support,


ChristianK for the OpenPetra developers.

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