Going to Vanilla version 3.4

Dear Readers,

Like a swiss cukoo, Bpm-Conseil, the company behind the Vanilla project, is about to make version 3.4 available. Since the first version of Vanilla, we keep the agenda to delivere major release every year and minor release every six-eight months. So, in second part of April, we will delivere version 3.4, on time

But moving to a new version is not only increasing the version number … we all know how some editors behave (not only in Open Source area) : they just force their customers to pay maintenance, and try to escape from their own engagements by moving to a new line of products, sometimes only by changing the number, without any new key features

Version 3.4 will come with its set of new features :

  • Improved Architecture & communication between the different Vanilla modules, by using Axis & Web Services to exchange documents & instructions. Immediate result is a faster portal !
  • New set of Oda drivers available in every designers : Oda driver for Excel, Oda driver for text file, Oda driver for FreeWebReport document (which allow designer to re-use a report as a standard secured data source)
  • Support for alternate data source, cube views snapshot, Rolodex interface and Dashboard wizard for FreeAnalysis Web
  • Some more features in Enterprise Service (such as Garbage collector management, User session manager) in FreeMetadata (wizard for report creation, support for custom type, highlight of orphan datastream, secure view of documents) , in FreeDashboard (self drill on cells, versioning), in FreeAnalysis Schema Designer (color coding for measures, Sql Query for fact table, cube preview in designer), in BiGateWay (support for loop for datasource, expression validation)
  • New package to manage Alerts, Forms Management, Document Management, Disconnected packages Management
  • New Features for Vanilla Hypervision : Drag & Drop deployment of documents between servers, user activity management, service & threads management
  • Support for Flash Maps & Flash Charts in Birt, by providing Vanilla Birt PlugIn that can use Vanilla Flash resources
  • Update for VanillaMobile : second edition of Vanilla for Android, with support for cubes views, reports with prompt list, flash documents (Maps), BiGateWay & Workflow, Search feature in document, barcode reader, …
  • Some more features to comply with customer’s requests when Bi project need to be deploy worlwide, such as command line deployment or communication encryption between Web interface and Vanilla server.
  • … but most interesting feature is the geolocalisation module, that leverage all our development with Flash Maps & Google Maps. On this subject, I will write soon a global post. As usual, Vanilla dev team & Vanilla Architects have done a crazy job to make Maps available for everyone, using Vanilla resources

Have Fun !


Welcome to Vanilla Forms Manager

Dear Readers,

Forms is a key subjects when developers want to develop application that allow users to input data & validate process. It’s been a long time that we provide forms support inside Vanilla, either Google Forms, Orbeon Forms or FreeDashboard Forms.

Forms are used to develop input form when user want to run a report, set some parameters before running a BiGateway transformation, or validate a BiWorkFlow process (such as an order validation or any interactive process validation).

With forms going more popular, we had requests for a global forms management application that will provide method & interface to develop & manage :
– various forms with many instance for each forms, with validity date and numerous options
– link Forms to FreeDashBoard Forms and manage data persistance
– manage form deployment by security group and manage form data (global validation)

With this new module, it will be easy to develop application such as order validation per services, data input such as expensive management or requests for holiday, any kind of survey application, and take benefit of the Vanilla Platform to empowered the global data set.
Vanilla Forms Manager entered its last validation stage before going public, just have a look at some screen shots

Forms Instance Management

Mapping Forms Instance with FreeDashboard Forms

Forms Instance Persistance Definition

Forms Instance Data Management

Have Fun !

Vanilla goes Flash on Eclipse with FusionMaps

Dear Readers,

Thanks to FusionCharts / FusionMaps development team, everybody can deploy Flash Maps & build interactives Charts visualisation. Some posts ago, I already discuss this subject, and I get questions about how to use this Birt/Flash integration. Well, at that time (3 weeks ago), we still didn’t complete a smooth PlugIn integration into Eclipse, so the report development was still a little tricky.

Yesterday, Vanilla development Team (Charles & Sebastien) just delivered a first set of Birt Plugin to make easy the development of Flash Charts & Flash Maps. Just have a look below at some screen shots.

To use those Plugins, you will need a Vanilla Server running in background, because we are leveraging some news Vanilla features such as our Maps repository or our geo-localised datasets (build on top of our secured Metadata layer !).

I’m early posting this feature, because it’s flashy & it’s a killing feature to get acceptance of your users. To use those PlugIns from Birt, you will need to wait a few weeks because we are working on a new version of Vanilla, and we want to make Maps & Flash usage as smooth as possible for Bi consultants.

Vanilla & Birt & FusionCharts integration

Vanilla & Birt & FusionMaps integration

Those features / PlugIn will be available inside Vanilla, Open Source. Well … what’s the value of an Open Source platform if adopters have to go for the commercial version to have user-friendly features … who can explain to me ?

Have Fun !


Vanilla for Android, Barcode Support

Dear Readers,

Vanilla for Android is cool ! Now, using your favorite Android Tablet or Smartphone, you can browse your report & cubes,and have access to your search engine and start your Bigateway transformation (etl) and workflow documents.

We have added a new crazy feature in the search interface : support of Android Barcode reader. Just imagine how this can unleash your usage of Vanilla documents, by providing immediate results while searching for a product in stock (drugs, foods) using its barcode, or checking a patient folder using only his registration barcode. It’s not only gadget, because barcode and other QR codes are available everywhere.

Barcode Feature

Just imagine how application can take benefit of this barcode reader to provide popular application on smartphone ! … where are the other bi / reporting applications (commercial or Open Source) on those new technologies ? … Well, I just forget to mention some of them have no developers anymore … they just reshaped their team with commercial & marketing managers …

Have Fun !

Development Evolution – from browser issue to Tablet solution

Dear Readers,

I remember 5 years ago when we started the development of our first Web application (at that time FreeMetrics Web, our first portal for Kpi), the choice of a Framework was not that easy. For some reasons, we decided to go for Struts-Shale. The development was not that easy, and we had issues between browsers.
After 1,5 years, we had 2 Web based applications developped using Shale : FreeMetrics and FreeAnalysisWeb. We had an important number of issues (compliance between browser, limitation in the interface), so we decided to move to another framework, Dojo, that gave us more flexibility, but still we had to manage multi browser issues and manage a lot of javascript functions.

In summer 2007, when we moved to Google GWT, version 1.4, it was a real shift : no more javascript coding, development using Eclipse & java langage, and a limited number of multi browser issues. For additional functions, we tried MyGwt, Gwt-Ext, but with the release of Gwt 2.0, all those subjects were cleaned : no more browser issues, all pure Gwt, Windwows-like features (D&D, Undo/Redo …) … finally, browser is not a subject, thanks to Google.

Last year, we have started Tablet projects … and history is a repetition. Apple IPad took the place of Netscape as the innovative leader (just to compare the browser emergence in mid 90s), but you need an Apple computer, Apple specific language to develop application that run only on Apple Tablet. Luckilly, the answer from Google with Android didn’t took 10+ years … it’s already available ! So, as a human-sized editor, we didn’t feel any pain to start developping Android application, using Eclipse PlugIn & emulator, and we are already abble to deploy to any kind of Android-compliant hardware, such as Samsung Galaxy Tab, Archos Tablet or Htc smartphone.

And our first application, Vanilla Mobile, got already interesting recognation from community & customers …
Have Fun !