FreeDashboard Web Update

Dear Readers,

With release version 3 of Vanilla, we have delivered a major update of  FreeDashBoard Designer, our java package to design interactive secured Dashboard. Then come the time for an update of our Web Dashboard Designer, that leverage the concept of Dashboard dictionary available in Vanilla … thanks tthe a crazy good work of Marc, FreeDashboardWeb is now available

Using FreeDashBoardWeb, you can create new Dashboard using objects available in dictionaries, or open existing Dashboard to apply some modification

The look & feel of the interface is similar to the java package, with a simple limitation : you can’t add new objects in existing dictionaries, you can only use the available set of objects, so it’s perfect to allow end User to create & manage their own Dashboard, using a central secured dictionary !

FreeDashboardWeb, Design Mode

FreeDashboardWeb, Preview Mode

Have Fun,


Molex’s Childs

Dear Readers,

What a shame yesterday on the news ! For those who live in France, you have all heard about the Molex company, that closed its door last year in south of France, with hundred of unemployed people. It was an economic diseaster for the region, and people were schocked by the rude behaviour of the american management from Molex US. Finally, they come to a solution where Molex  should take in charge most of the cost to help people finding new job or beeing trained to another job.

Yesterday, in the same news, we learnt that Molex had stopped paying for to help the unemployed people, breaking its engagement, and that the US company is now generating millions of benefices.Provocation …

Well … I agree with our government that asked french car manufacturers
to stop working with Molex, but this is not a single situation with Us firms … just think of that when you are going to buy expensive software licenses from Us (commercial or saif Open Source) companies … where goes your money ? World is changing … some people still try to get money as fast as possible, and runaway, because they know it’s their last chance

Have Fun !

27 july is Xmas day !

Dear Readers,

Last week, I was going to Paris for a business meeting, when I suddenly remember about the forecast of an India guy last june. I was in Singapore in june, not really feeling well for obvious reasons, waiting for my friend Patrick to share a coffee around the Merlion place. Then came a man, Indian, who seat close to me and start talking with me about my future. After some minutes, he predicted me that my best day this year will be 27 of july.

When this year we had this crazy good news, july 27th … I didn’t match the 2 events. Which news ? … well, too early to post about it, just understand this will change the Vanilla project & move it to the top for the next coming years. It took me about 3 months to remember the prediction & match the 2 events … one man in Singapore predicted me an event in Paris on the exact day, 55 days in advance … well, it doesn’t sound reasonable, especially for cartesian peoples  … but it happened …

Have Fun !


Forks activity in 2010

Dear Readers,

Fork is a strange word in Open Source : dev team don’t like it, are sometimes scared by it, but this is the advantage they use to comment an Open Source project perenity.

LibreOffice (OpenOffice), Mageai (Mandriva), MariaDb (MySql) … who is the next, this year or next ? (I put aside the Compiere/ADempier/OpenBraco and other recurrent forks of Compiere … too much).

Each fork has the same justification : strategy and orientation of the leading commercial company (Oracle, Mandriva).  The latest big “non fork” was JBoss … no fork when RedHat bought the project/company … may be because Tomcat is enough, and Jetty is a reliable alternative ? Any ideas ?

What is the current success of the forked projects ? I mean : who has migrated – or even tested – to MariaDb (for example) ? I will say Mageai is a different fork, but Ubuntu is already in the place (Linux workstation )

Beeing abble to fork a project is also a nice recognition of the project itself : if it can be recovered by a new team, it means the project was well written and well documented. Some other projects – Mondrian for instance – are not in this position, for obvious reasons, so there are new innovative offers – IcCube for example – that started from the ground with an immediate success (I mean, nobody cares about the engine … what is more important is to have a reliable designer interface along with a transparent engine to delivere the information)

In some areas, we can see a lot of communities projects that try to replace the old Open Source “community” edition, but in some case, they simply compete with the commercial Edition (not really Open Source Platform, I agree). How stand those community contribution : potential forks of the core product if the editor fails to delivere on time ? What is the limits between a stand alone contribution and a fork, especially when the leading company is changing its license policy ?

Your comment are welcome on this subject …

Have Fun !

Vanilla : When customers help partners !

Dear Readers,

French Vanilla Customers make us some valuable gifts those past months : not only talking about the French Vanilla User Group, but also because I’ve heard that customers are now helping us to promote Vanilla abroad. So, a special THANKS to Benoit for his support to Udi … I hope both of U enjoyed the meeting …

In addition, I take this opportunity to send my best regards to Wong, for his nice comments about Vanilla’s interface & features, his help to close some small Linux issues, and his global feedback on our support services …  we have more and more “early Open Source Bi adopters” turning to Vanilla after bad experience with some demo versions of other products, I’m happy to read that 100% of the comments of those early adopters are the same, such as : “Vanilla interface is coherent, easy to use”,  “platform has a lot of usefull modules”, and Vanilla “dev team provides great support” … your comment and feedback are part of our oil to keep & promoting developing the Vanilla plaftrom

Have Fun !


Vanilla – some new documentations

Dear Readers,

Just a quick post to promote some new and recently updated documentations, because updating a software, like we did with the release 3 of Vanilla, requires also to update the documentation, and keeping this documentation available for free (as opposed to what we can see elsewhere !)

Vanilla 3 presentation : document that contains brief description of each modules availables in Vanilla.

Vanilla 3 Installation Guide : less than 10 pages to have a successfull installation. Beware with MySql and the “ansi quotes” … because FreeMetadata supports alias, and “ansi quotes” is requiered for this feature

Vanilla 3 Developer Getting started : some words about how to start developing an application with Vanilla

Well, those documents are stored in Google Docs Cloud … it’s nice to use Google Docs to make documents available worldwide within a second. Don’t forget that Vanilla provides oda drivers for GoogleSpreadsheet and GoogleTables, because it’s also usefull to be abble to easilly retrieve information from any cloud

Have Fun !


Open Flash Chart 2.0 Support

Dear Readers,

Maintenance and evolution of the Vanilla platform represents an important part of our time (development & documentation update)

With every new release, we target to update most of the embeded components, like we did for version3 & Birt 2.6 update.  For some identified components, for obvious reasons (licence, commercial evolution), we keep a stable version (for example, we are still running a Mondrian 2.4 engine and a Bonita 3.x engine, without major issues).

For the new development line (version 3.1), we have updated the Open Flash Chart engine to embed OFC v2 within our FreeDashboard Designer.

Just have a look at some print screen, using a Performance Dashboard on sampledata

Performance Dashboard & OFC2 Pie Chart

Performance Dashboard & OFC2 Line Graph

Performance Dashboard Web User Result

Have Fun,

Introducing Vanilla-IcCube integration

Dear Readers

Regularly, in our way to develop an innovative Open Source Platform, we meet extraordinary people & products. It was the case in september, while travelling in South Asia for business meeting & Osspac Conference.

I had the opportunity to meet Marc Polizzi, the leader of the IcCube project, a small footprint Olap Server, who lives on a beautifull Island. Marc is developping IcCube Olap Server with David Alvarez, but I only meet Marc this time …

Both, we used to work in Switzerland in our previous business life, and I’m certain we may have crossed on some projects / customers in the 90’s. Both, we share the ambition to shake up the market with new product available at reasonable price.

After the discussion, I connected Marc with my dev team (because … well, I have no value added when it turns to tied integration) and within a week, we had a clean tied integration of IcCube with Vanilla / FreeAnalysis. It’s always amazing to see how java developers can collaborate & understand each others within minutes,
how my dev team had invested its time because of the frienldy relation with Marc, and also we were all delighted by the knowledge Marc had from Mdx language …

What a global satisfaction to be abble to provide the full support of IcCube with Vanilla 3.1 line. This integration was possible after a few days of development, because of the use of the FreeAnalysis Api, that stands as an middleware component between FreeAnalysis Web interface and Olap engine like IcCube or Mondrian.
Last, but not least, IcCube provide a native Excel interface for the Excel Addicts …

Just let me share with you some print screen of IcCube and Vanilla-IcCube integration.

IcCube Web Designer

IcCube Cube declaration using FreeAnalysisSchemaDesigner

FreeAnalysisWeb with an IcCube cube datasource

Have Fun !

I have a Mission

Dear Readers,

I’m certain this situation is real … unfortunatly for Open Source Platform & software in general … when people confuses Open Source & Free, trying to justify a failure in project because of software’s lack of features. In my IT life, whatever the nature of software was (Open Source or Commercial), most of the problems or success in Bi projects where the result of IT’s investment in the software & project. No investment -> no results … Bi projects need global support from IT and users.

Step 1 : Mission in Commercial area

“My company needs a new platform, so I have a mission : I have to choose the better platform & the better system integrator. No doubt, I will take a commercial platform, because it’s more professional” (don’t laught … we still meet some of those people. Not to say Open Source is more professional … but now, I will say there is no difference in terms of features / software quality and SI ability to comple the project)

Step 2 : Mission in Open Source area

“After my System integrator failed in implementing the platform (partly because they sent us junior, and partly because we didn’t defined the business objectives), and because in the same time my favorite commercial editor has been bought by the new leader and I saw the increase in maintenance rate (for a project not yet in production !), I have a new mission : I will try to move to an Open Source platform. As I have no budget allocate for this, and globally no budget anymore, I will download some platform and try by my own” (note : yes … still some companies that tries to start an Open Source project without support or training … well, if you think training is too expensive, just try to evaluate the cost of the wasted time due to lack of knwoledge … training is a human investment, not a cost !)

Step 3 : Final mission

After some days / weeks trying to use this ugly Open source Platform, I came to the conclusion it was not ready for production. I have tried to get support from editor, but they asked me to pay for a support contract. Why ? It’s Open Source … it should be free ? So, I was right not paying anything, because it’s not running. Now, I have a mission : I have to tell everyone that Open Source is not running well, because I was not abble to run it alone I will spend a lot of time shouting at Open Source, because they refused to help me for free

Well … no comment … except that this kind of scenario also applies to some System Integrators, no matter what the Open Source project is and no matter what are their initial skills. Ecosystem is fragile … respect of investment is important !

HaveFun !


Vanilla v3 – 1 week after the launch

Dear Readers,
Last wednesday, we had our Vanilla v3 official launch with our customers.  This was a day of exchange and discovery, with testimonial from various customers.

Always funny to notice how people identified a new version and what they remind about it. For version 3, most notable feature – customer feedback – is the document management module & search engine integration.

Internally, when Gaël integrated this set of features before summer time, we were really surprised by the speed of the search engine and the deep & clean integration with Vanilla.
Now, it’s time for customers to discover and use this new module, and I know some customers that have already some interesting ideas to leverage those features.

But Vanilla v3 is not only “document management & search engine”. The FreeWebReport presentation, that provides users with an interface to build reports using differents metadata,
or the presentation of our FreeDashboard module (Performance Dashboard with popup !!!) got good feedback from the audience.

All in one, we used to forecast a presentation of multithread & cluster management in afternoon session (it’s the second crazy features of version 3) … but due to questions about Kpi database, workflow design or advanced document management features (private search list), we simply did not covered this second crazy set of features … this may sounds funny, and in fact it is, as it can be summarized like “we showed 50% if Vanilla v3 new features” … but it’s ok … customers were happy like that …

Perception is always slightly different from the reality … and the truth always stands around perception …
Have Fun,