ORGANISATION: history of Magentoerpconnect

Created by Raphaël Valyi - http://www.akretion.com on on 2011-06-20
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Last updated by:
Raphaël Valyi - http://www.akretion.com on on 2011-06-21

2008 THE PROOF OF CONCEPT AT SMILE:
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A first open source prototype of Magento OpenERP integration has been lead by Raphaël Valyi http://www.linkedin.com/in/raphaelvalyi while he was working at Smile.fr during summer 2008 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j70llBqhas4
Raphaël was leading the project but has not been allocated to that project more than 2 weeks, so unfortunately the initial code base has mostly been done by trainees. Raphael still made his best to keep contributing to the project during spare time however.
This was the "magento_openerp_synchro" module of OpenERP v5 http://bazaar.launchpad.net/~openerp-commiter/openobject-addons/stable_5.0-extra-addons/files/head:/magento_openerp_synchro/
You can track those epic early days here http://groups.google.com/group/magento-openerp/browse_thread/thread/0923feaa0b4c1bc2#

Mostly because there were no viable customer for the POC, that module stagnated then and never got too much improvement.

2009 REWRITE BY OPENLABS AND AKRETION AND PROJECT MATURATION:
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In early 2009, Sharoon Thomas, funder of Openlabs http://www.linkedin.com/in/sharoonthomas , started working heavily on the connector too and was about to deploy a Magento OpenERP connector for real this time.

At that time, Sharoon had 2 issues with the initial Smile.fr connector:

1) Smile was reluctant to acknowledge that Sharoon (Openlabs) and Raphaël (soon Akretion) were the main authors of the connector now (75% of the commits by that time; most of Raphaël's ones not during Smile work days and Raphaël left Smile.fr in June 2009 to fund Akretion.com). Despite our requests to Smile directors to change the connector branding, Smile wanted to keep presenting it as "the Smile connector" while they had not funded/committed any improvement since a year or so.

2) Being largely coded by a trainee the initial Smile connector code base had conceptual flaws that we would better fix:
- that first proof of concept has been inspired by the existing Joomla connector by Axelor and was not "multi" oriented so it was missing many Magento multi's features we could map to OpenERP multi's features. Wad had to be smarter than just add a 'web_id' column in every table as it was done in those connectors, this would never scale to several Magento installations or multiple sale channels.
- many things we need to do such as: map ids between two referentials (here databases), map fields and also have buttons/functions to export the catalog and import orders were not specific to Magento and could be abstracted away to be reused by other connectors and get a better consolidation synergy. So we created the base_external_referentials and base_sale_multichannels generic modules.

Because of 1) and 2), Sharoon (Openlabs) decided we could no longer live in the Smile shadow and stared this magentoerpconnect project on Launchpad in August 2009.
CONTRARY TO SOME URBAN LEGENDS, THAT NEW MAGENTOERPCONNECT BRANCH WAS A COMPLETE REWRITE OF SMILE CONNECTOR AND YOU CAN ANALYSE IT BY YOURSELF, RIGHT AT THE START IT HAD LESS THAN 5% OF COMMON CODE. THIS WAS NOT A FORK BUT A TRUE REWRITE OF SMILE POC. At the time Sharoon focused on the multi-s and the catalog importation/exportation.

In October 2009, Akretion got their first 2 Magentoerpconnect customers and started teaming heavily with Openlabs that had made most of the new magentoerpconnect branch commits until now. Akretion focused on the base_sale_multichannels abstraction and the order importation logic.

2010 USAGE IN PRODUCTION AND FEATURES CONSOLIDATION:
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During 2010 we started to see more and more contributions. We got the noticeable contributions of Zikzakmedia that introduced mostly the ability to schedule the synchronization actions and made several other useful improvements such as with partner and newsletter synch.

Then came CampToCamp that massively contributed to the connector, mostly modularizing the code further and contributed for grouped products and Magento product links.

2011 WELCOME TO CAMPTOCAMP AND ZIKZAKMEDIA AND PROJECT DEMOCRATIZATION:
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By summer 2011, the last challenge are: "Magento configurable products" (actually variants) for which we have a POC on the trunk branch already. The trunk branch also comes with JSON attributes feature that allow to answer elegantly to the Magento EAV product attribute structures without creating to many product columns as before (migration will be possible but not trivial). And then comes the "Magento bundle products" for which we have prototypes also with OpenERP dynamic BOM features CampToCamp and Akretion are developing.

Before summer 2011, the core editors would rather allocate their resources fully on the connector R&D because:
- connector projects were extremely hard to get done. Reasons were: OpenERP itself was still very hard by that time; we are connecting 2 different complex system with each their own database, that doesn't go without impedance mismatch; we were small companies; Magento EAV database is not easy to maintain...
- connector projects are little profitable for the integrators due to the difficulty

so investing time and effort to promote the project was not really profitable for us: instead of benefiting us, we had competitors that had no shame in failing many of their integration projects that would just exploit our work to make more money than us (cause we tend to be professional here on the contrary) and frustrate the potential users. We have seen this a lot unfortunately. While we were investing in building a decent connector, some companies got the old POC implemented for more expensive that we would have done and the project didn't get any benefit of their sacrifice.

But things changed recently: OpenERP and Magento are more mature now. Magentoerpconnect itself now support most of the core Magento features so it's not a R&D project anymore. The core editor companies are stronger, more experienced and better organised to get more projects implemented.

At the end, June 7th 2011, Despite Openlabs created the magentoerpconnect project, and despite Akretion has been leading the project over the last year, we decided this was time to get stronger all together and that we needed to incentive the two other most active contributors to contribute more in exchange of official acknowledgment: so we officially welcomed CampToCamp and Zikzakmedia into the core magentoerpconnect editor team!

In the future, we may open that group to other contributors provided they contribute significant amount of work and features. In the meantime, we support our other occasional contributors by mentioning them as top contributors.

Happy Magento - OpenERP connector projects! We are very proud to have built what we hope to be the best ERP - ECommerce connector in the world! We hope we will finally have time to let you know about that!