vtiger 6.1.0 Released

ColorWhiteLogo

After several months of development the latest version of the most popular open source CRM, vtiger CRM is released today.

vtiger 6.1.0 provides new features, over 150 bug fixes and support for newer versions of PHP and MySQL, as well as the new all Extension Store & vtiger Marketplace where our own Geographic Information System extension, GeoTools, was the first to be approved and published.

Release notes for vtiger are here.

Downloads are here.

solution-provider-new

As always, the UK’s most experienced vtiger partner Libertus Solutions is available for support and assistance with any vtiger implementation.

GeoTools re-visited

GeoTools-250Remember our first release of GeoTools? Libertus Solutions are delighted to announce the release of a completely re-written GIS (Geographical Information System) extension module for the soon-to-be-released vtiger 6.1.0.

This new version of GeoTools integrates services from OpenStreetMap with whatever business data is configured and available in your CRM application.

GeoTools

One of the big changes in the forthcoming 6.1.0 release of vtiger is a brand new integrated Extension Store feature that makes it simple for users to install and manage new extension modules for their vtiger installation:

  • 1 Click install of commercial or free applications
  • Confidence that apps are verified by vtiger before publication
  • Contact information of publisher is immediately available
  • See and contribute Ratings and Reviews of extensions

GeoTools is the first new extension module to be approved and published in vtiger’s new Marketplace and offers a host of new features that take full advantage of the new MVC architecture of vtiger 6.

  • Use existing search filters and geographic parameters simultaneously in search results
  • Manually update the location coordinates of records when they have not been Geocoded correctly by drag & drop
  • Drag & drop the radius centre to re-calculate distance searches instantly
  • Automatically detect the users actual location for an instant “any Leads nearby?” type enquiry
  • Arbitrary manual address entry for on-the-fly geocoding
  • Ability to add records directly to the Geocoding database cache using drag & drop

The techy bit

This version of GeoTools has been totally re-written from the ground up. We fixed a few bad design decisions that kind of “just happened” in the first version and have re-architected the internal Geocoding and Tile service APIs so these are now vendor agnostic. In the first GeoTools release we used the Google Maps API for both Tile and Geocoding services but these are now subject to terms & conditions which are probably not appropriate for the majority of businesses that would wish to use GeoTools. Consequently, this release now uses services from OpenStreetMap but other services from commercial vendors could just as easily be supported too; such as Google or MapQuest or MapBox.

We used the amazing Leaflet JS library to handle the majority of the mapping user interface. It’s a pleasure to use, well documented and is highly featured.

GeoTools is Open Source Software. We decided however to sell the extension via vtiger’s Marketplace for a nominal fee as we have spent considerable effort developing this product and believe it represents great value for money. Installation from the vtiger marketplace is a 1-click affair and we will provide support to paying customers. The GeoTools code will be available shortly on the vtiger forge but users will be on their own in terms of installation and support.

There isn’t a straightforward upgrade path between the version of GeoTools for vtiger 5.4.0 and this release unfortunately, although it should be possible to do for customers who have a large amount of data they’d rather not have to re-geocode. If you are interested in migrating please contact Libertus Solutions directly.

There will be a video showing GeoTools for vtiger 6.1.0 coming soon ­čÖé

UPDATE: There is now a demo system available here: http://geotools.libertus.co.uk. Login with a username and password of GeoTools. (This demo database is dropped and restored every 4 hours)

GeoTools: Geolocation services for vtiger CRM

As many of you know already, our company Libertus Solutions does quite a lot of work with the open source CRM called vtiger. It’s a very competent and accomplished product made even more so by its well thought out extension capabilities.

In this post I’m really pleased to announce our first open source vtlib module for vtiger called GeoTools.

It was derived from another project on the vtiger forge called Maps, which we have taken and extended in true open source style. Standing on the shoulders of giants, and all that…

GeoTools introduces Geolocation features to vtiger in a standard vtlib module package. It adds the ability to perform distance-based searches on your data.

GeoTools uses the Google Maps API to gather positional data, that’s latitude and longitude coordinates, for the entity records that have been configured in the GeoTools Settings area. Once we have acquired this positional data we can then perform location-based calculations to display the results on an embedded Google Map, and as a list view of entity records.

Anyway enough of the words already! Here’s a video:

As soon as the forge site is up I’ll update this and provide links to the code.

Update: Here we are: This will be a moving target for some time yet – it’s still rather “beta” grade code…

A Good Pub Guide: The White Hart, Sherington

The White Hart, Sherington

The White Hart, Sherington

If you travel around the country on business it can be a very tiresome and soul-destroying experience. Especially when you end up having to stay in one of the bland, clinical, plastic and totally soulless hotels that the TV adverts would suggest are something altogether different. I’ve never liked these places and so I do try to find interesting, more characterful lodgings to stay that are not expensive. Often the best to look out for are Pubs with accommodation.

Earlier this week, we had a bit of a road trip on our hands… A day discussing OpenERP in Cambridge and the next day vtiger CRM consulting in Milton Keynes which is not too far away, so we needed somewhere to stay to avoid driving a 200+ mile round trip.

We found a real gem of place! A very attractive country pub with extremely pleasant rooms, very friendly service, fantastic food (the Mixed Grill was really, really excellent), good beer and entertaining and congenial locals too.

If you happen to be working around the Bedford, Milton Keynes, Newport Pagnell area and want somewhere to stay, I whole-heartedly recommend you check out The White Hart in Sherington.

vtiger CRM – A “Proper” Open Source CRM

I wanted to point any readers who may be interested to a new post I wrote over on our company blog. It discusses the latest release of a very popular business application we spend more and more time working with our customers on – vtiger CRM. CRM meaning Customer Relationship Management. Not only do we help others use vtiger CRM, it is also our own tool of choice for Sales and Marketing Automation.

The company behind vtiger CRM just released the latest version, 5.2.0, which has several major new features and lots of minor tweaks and improvements too.

We think this is the best truly Open Source CRM application currently available. There are other CRM systems that claim to be Open Source but are actually Open Core which is not the same thing at all.

If you want to learn a little about vtiger CRM, please drop over here and feel free to use the comments or contact-us page if you want to find out any more.

vtiger on demand – Open Source as a Service

Today we are adding a new offering to our regular line up of consultancy services and comprehensive on-site bundles and this time it is out in the cloud.

There is a clear general trend towards outsourced software as a service, back when this first became a viable concept technically it seemed complete madness to me to have all your valuable data locked up on some server you never even get to see. You would be at the mercy of the vendor, subject to them raising their prices or going out of business and with very little recourse when they do. This remains a major business risk with proprietary software as a service, but the benefits of not requiring in-house hardware and expertise to install and manage a useful and scalable solution are still quite compelling.

With Open Source as a Service things are somewhat different, you still get to wash your hands of the installation and management of the hardware and software, upgrades just happen and they are someone else’s problem. You get the low cost of entry and prices that that are in proportion to the amount of users that are getting value from it. You also get Freedom instead of lock-in. You can take your hosted cloud based software and run the same code somewhere else. Either on another bit of remote hardware you never see, or on a box with flashing lights that sits quietly in a broom cupboard somewhere in your building. You are not at all locked in to Open Source as a Service, you are using it because it provides benefits you want at a price that is good value, as well as financially supporting the further development of the software.

So the announcement today is that The Open Learning Centre is partnering with vtiger CRM to bring the vtiger on demand Open Source as a Service to the UK market. This is hosted out in the cloud (Amazon EC2 to be precise) and managed on a day to day basis by the vtiger engineers. We can provide an optional on-site training day to complement the hosted service and of course at any time you can transition from the hosted CRM to one of our Ubuntu based Libertus servers (or the other way round if you like). This is just one example of how Software Freedom makes total business sense and it illustrates the difference between free as in no cost and the much more important free as in Freedom.

Next Page »