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Disclosure: We at Elondra developed and are alliance partners for RIM-BlackBerry

To us, it makes sense. BlackBerry is a business smart phone, they are friendly to developers, we are open source and it is well Blogcumented that the BlackBerry is a better more practical business phone:

  • Most of the newer BlackBerries posses GPS, which makes Google Maps much more useful, especially for turn-by-turn directions
  • The iPhone lacks basic cut and paste capabilities
  • Despite Apple’s reputation for superior user interface design, the BlackBerry possesses keyboard shortcuts that make navigation around and between applications a breeze
  • The BlackBerry’s phone quality is better than the iPhone’s
  • The Safari browser is certainly more stunning than the BlackBerry’s primitive browser, but the iPhone seems to load even text-only pages more slowly than the BlackBerry over the EDGE network
  • The BlackBerry possesses a general contacts application that makes contacting people by any given method more convenient
  • The battery runs out faster on the iPhone simply because it is used for more tasks. This makes it less reliable for when one must take the device somewhere overnight without the opportunity to recharge.

Apple gives us the feeling that even though you buy the iPhone, or you develop for the Iphone, Apple will own your application, how accessible it is and the songs you listen to while you are waiting to be approved as well.

You are not exactly forced, but are at their mercy using the App Store, They don’t seem to care if you get payed, or how long it takes to pay you, even thought they are happy to promote 1 billion apps downloaded.

I get it, they want to have control and show their big muscles to the little developers. But as the iPhone becomes more and more popular among consumers (and they are, let’s face it, the iPhone is cool and sexy) how many business people will switch to the iPhone? how many developers creating savvy business applications will follow this trend? How good will the iPhone/Apple/Mac soldiers be in convincing you?

and…How does Open source mobility fit into Apple´s overall plan?

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We recently took part and even became Gold sponsors and the Openbravo World Conference in Barcelona. Having developed a mobility module for Openbravo´s 2.5 version ERP it made a lot of sense to present the module, what mobility can mean Openbravo Partners and their clients. What took us by surprise was the openness (the Irony, I know) that the development community and their Partners showed towards us. We shared the common goal of pushing Opensource software not just as a developing future but as an overall business objective. Yes, there was that overall challenge of having companies not confuse opensource as “FREE”, and that idea of “well if I spend hours working on a vertical application, why do YOU get to profit from it”… sort of thing. (Questions which the new Openbravo forge does somewhat answer by the way)

But the community atmosphere was all there, people from Sevilla to Saudi Arabia, sharing a common goal to be innovative and cooperative. Well known Open source companies like Ubuntu and Alfresco made their visit and presented, some awkward visits from Sun Microsystems (a day before the Oracle buy) as well as some odd snooping from a few SAP executives. It was all good fun and everyone shared business cards, coffee and tiny croissants, we did no detect any “those guys and us guys” type scenes at all.

About the module: The new module, hosted in the new Openbravo forge, uses the ERP’s Data Access Layer (DAL) to retrieve data (customers, products, prices, etc.) and sends it to Elondra’s communication middleware bmServer with our public web service API. bmServer distributes the data among the mobile devices and receives orders from them. These orders are then retrieved by the integration module and inserted right back into the ERP.

This asynchronous, decoupled process guarantees that the data is always received in a timely and secure way. Transparent for both parties, it also releases the end customer from having any kind of infrastructure. Providing an easy and fast start into mobility with little investment for the customer and recurring revenues for the partner.

Openbravo and Elondra have been collaborating to create this integration module to benefit all customers, SME and big account, and to capitalize on the web-based features of Openbravo ERP.

If you get a chance to check out the Openbravo community and meet some of their developers, please do so, they are truly a good bunch.

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bmSales in blackberryWhat do you get when you combine the agility and sophistication of the BlackBerry phone and email, with an integrated ordering and Sales application?
A Small company sales weapon.
Think of all the Small-Medium companies around, with sales people in the field that do push sale, but don’t necessarily need push mail. Forget the fact that BlackBerry has the reputation of a white collar executive´s phone, for one minute forget the slumping economy, the declining sales and the fact that most companies are not waiting by their desk for customers to call, they are out there meeting them, visiting them and taking their orders at their shops.
How many gallons of milk you need this week? Loafs of bread? Flour? Barrels of beers? Boxes? Pounds of cheese? When do you need the next delivery of office paper? Pens? Cement? ….
These companies, distributors, resellers are the real forgotten ones. Sure, they may have a mobile phone to recieve and place calls, but neither blackberry nor email is a necessity for them in the field. Pen and paper and a clipboard is still their best tool, the overpriced PDA solution in some cases, the humongous industrial terminal in the worst case. And the time and money they spend driving back and forth to the office, in mistakes, in duplication.
Well, Elondra has integrated their mobile technology BaseMovil into the BlackBerry bold, allowing everyone to be able to make orders on the field, with offline access to clients, products, prices, expenses, GPS, invoicing, history….everything you need to be an efficient on-the-field-sales representative.
By Elondra being a BlackBerry alliance partner, the sales application integrates easily with the other BlackBerry applications. So by accessing your ERP client list, you can easily give them a call, email them or find them on the GPS.
And with the Sales Director online tool, you can check what your sales reps are invoicing, in number of orders; revenue amounts and you can even check their geo-location and see where your sales people actually are.
And if you think it’s expensive, here is the best part: it integrates onto most of the ERP´s out there in a matter of hours, not “project days”. Its SaaS model (software as a Service) of no license and zero-to-no initial investment ensures small medium companies can afford to have accuracy and agility in their sales force and now in BlackBerry too.
You don´t believe me, contact us for a demo.

And now, after the commercial comes the good news for developers: we have developed the specific BlackBerry components integrated into the upcoming version of OpenBaseMovil.

This will lead to many changes on the ui engine, for the better of course, and will mean that your applications will run both on standard JavaME phones and on BlackBerry with a single codebase.

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Dear readers and contributors,

We are currently taking part in the Startup 2.0 contest, and through that we have been also mentioned at KillerStartups where you can vote for the best startups.

Please, help us promote OpenBaseMovil voting for us:

KillerStartups

Startup 2.0

Thanks!

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Hi folks,

We’ve been making some tests of the (Open)BaseMovil applications on the BlackBerry emulator (soon in a real device) and also with some Windows Mobile based devices like Qtek S200 and specially an HTC Touch Dual.

Here are some screenshoots of bmSales, our commercial SFA application running there (click to enlarge, on new window):

On the BlackBerry:

On the HTC Touch:

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Thanks to everyone, and thanks to the SourceForge staff.

It is ephemeral, but it’s great!

The project news for the OpenBaseMovil 3.0 final release is now in the SourceForge home page.

Just for the posterity a snapshot:

SourceForge.net Home Page snapshoot

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Here’s is the promised english version of the presentation we delivered at OpenMovilforum.

I hope you can get a better grasp of the full BaseMovil and OpenBaseMovil capabilitites with it.

OpenBaseMovil presentation

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Today we will present OpenBaseMovil and the incomming OpenMidsets platform at OpenMovilForum, a Spanish event for Open Source development of mobility solutions sponsored by Telefónica Movistar and Nokia.

Here you can find the presentation that we will deliver. Most of it is in Spanish, but we will upload an English version very soon: OpenBaseMovil presentation at Open Movil Forum

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OpenBaseMovil is a free, Open Source platform for developing powerful J2ME business and consumer applications.

OpenBaseMovil is comprised of several libraries.

What is included in OpenBaseMovil:

OpenBaseMovil-core
This library is the first one we have released, as all the rest depend on it. It contains many services: internationalization, task control, serialization, encryption, compression, floating point support, properties files support, an MVC framework, an event framework, files over RecordStores, and more.
OpenBaseMovil-db
This is a database engine that supports hundreds of tables, with even hundreds of thousands of rows per table. It is a relational database engine, with tables, which in turn have fields. This is not an object persistence framework as some that are around there, you don’t have to care about serialization and deserialization of objects, you have a database like MySQL or any other RDBMS. Tables can have multiple indexes on one or more fields, even full-text-like indexes, so finding data is a really simple task. By now, it is not a SQL database nor an ACID system, we might implement that kind of things in the future. But you must not loose focus, we are talking about a cellular phone like a Nokia N70 or a SonyEricsson K610 dealing with many thousands of rows with search times of around 50-100ms for direct search indexes and abut 300-400ms for full-text searches. Phones are more powerful each day, but you can not ask them things like parsing complex SQL queries.
The database engine provides a simple API, very similar to that of JDBC, so you can manage your data easily. There are four main objects that you will deal with: Database, Table, Row and RowSet. You use the Database to hold Tables, and the Tables to create and handle Rows and also to search them. RowSet is, as you have already guessed, a set of Rows for a given search over a Table, and you use it almost as you would use a JDBC ResultSet.
OpenBaseMovil-script
This is one of our latest creations, a scripting engine for JavaME (J2ME). We still consider it release candidate version, but it is very functional and powerful now. Many of our future plans have this engine as their basis, so we have built it with some clear goals:

  • It must be easy to code
  • The language must be very easily extended
  • It must have a core library of tools that must be also easily extensible, so the scripts can interact with any current or future element.
  • It must be very fast

We have called the language simply “bmScript”. It is an object oriented language, with a syntax close to the C family (Java, C#, C++, etc.) but easier. It is compiled to a binary, optimized format, and that can be done at the mobile phone or you can compile the scripts and then send them to the device.
The core library has just some tools by now to be able to create maps (like arrays) and to interact with the basic system utilities (the console and so on). But, the database engine has some classes that when plugged into the engine let you access the database, just like you could do with Java. The same applies to the ui libraries.
This is the next library that we will upload to SourceForge, along with the proper documentation and examples.

OpenBaseMovil-storage
The storage library is a pluggable library used by the database. It acts as a proxy to the underlying storage mechanism, currently the only one available: RecordStores. It also provides useful services on top of that to improve performance and ease of use.
Some devices do not impose limits on RecordStore sizes, some others do. Most of them have bugs, some very important, others not so. This pluggable library is designed to overcome that kind of things, releasing the database engine of that burden.
OpenBaseMovil-ui
After years of dealing with the user interface, we’ve come to some important conclusions:

  1. The MIDP interface has some advantages, but also many shortcomings, many bugs and many differences between devices. It’s a nightmare to deal with them all. At some points, the specification is too loose, and each manufacturer decides how to do it. And the bugs, the nasty bugs. For example, the latests Nokia phones with Symbian 3rd edition get hanged very often with forms with edit boxes. And they might fix it, but the truth is that they probably won’t. The reason is very simple: J2ME is targeted to games, so their effort in the “text” interface is clearly smaller.
  2. As it comes from the first point, the graphical interface is much more powerful and less error prone.

And since we want a consistent interface through different models, simple to design, database aware, and user friendly we built the ui library.
This library lets you define your application views with a simple xml file, and has a lot of powerful different views: grid menus, list menus, forms and list browsers. For example, with a list browser you just give it a name, the fields you want to be displayed, and then you bind it to a RowSet and it shows the user a graphical list that shows information about the number or rows, the current one, and shows a single line for unselected rows and a extended view of the selected one. It handles all of the database navigation and data fetching for you.
We plan to evolve this library into a window toolkit, so the interface can became fully consistent. One of the drivers is the bug mentioned on the Symbian 3rd platform, but it imposes some challenges: dealing with user input in text fields is not easy and has it’s drawbacks. For now, the forms are built with the standard MIDP forms, but enhanced with data binding and zero-code design.

Helper tools: resource packing and checking, view compiling, and others.
These tools are simple helper tools in the development process. For example, the resource packer takes your resource files (properties files) and checks that all resources are defined in all files (no missing resources in any language). It also packs many bundles (each library has it’s own set) into a single bundle, which is easier to handle from an application.
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