vtiger CRM Get Together-Meetups :: Italy, Brescia. September 2013


The first thing I have to say about the event is THANK YOU! Everybody was so comfortable and willing that it was just a natural feeling, like we had to be there, we had to be together. It was the thing to do.

I would also like to extend that thank you to the vtiger company for supporting the event and participating.

We had a wonderful time, a lot of fun and conversation with an incredibly disperse set of people from all over the world.

Another special thanks to Andrea and his team for helping people arrive and get to our destination and also for the election of the wonderful cabin/house in Carengo where we spent the days and nights before and after the event. I believe that this location was part of what made the environment so comfortable, and the views are simply awesome.

The conference hall, which the local government let us use Saturday, was a nice place with everything we needed to conduct the event, acoustics could have been better, but maybe that was part our fault also.

Although I know that most of the reader's interest is in the event on Saturday, so many things happened before the event that I have to start my narration on Wednesday, but I will try to keep it short and leave out a lot of details.

Wednesday, my partner Lorenzo and one of the programmers on my team, Omar, parted from Valencia airport with destination Bergamo. We arrived and picked up a rental to meet the development team at OpenCubed, Lindjana, Edlira, Lorida, Brisilda, Elisa and Tea. Right from the beginning we started meeting people and seeing how vtiger CRM can be used in many situations to solve business problems that you would never have imagined. We stopped to buy food and arrived at our destination at 1000m in the pre-Alps mountains with the only sound of the nature and the wolves (Tea knows what I mean :-) ), where more than a dozen people were together for a pleasant late Italian supper with conversations flying around in a multitude of languages, simply wonderful.

The next two days were a constant movement of things to do, people to talk to, things to see, and simply enjoy the ride :-)

On Thursday, arrived out first official guest, Francisco Hernandez from Mexico. Rubens and Elisa picked him up at the airport with the typical sign with his name on it and then took him up to the mountain through a small road with no lights, so Francisco thought for a moment that was the end of his journey :-) , but he was wrong, it was the start, he was greeted by a host of people that couldn't be happier to see him. Francisco blended right in and made himself part of the fun right from the start.

Personally I think that he had a very good time, not only professionally, but also personally (truth is I think at happened to most of us) and I can't appreciate more, nor express how grateful I am for the enormous effort he made to come all the way from America and show us as much hospitality and care than we did or more. @Francisco, ha sido un verdadero placer :-)

After some excellent tequila (thank you again Francisco) we started Friday with new arrivals, Alex from CRM-NOW, and Alan from Libertus Solutions. We spent some time at the conference hall testing connectivity and distributing the tables (thank you Alex and Tea), making sure everything was working and ultimating the last details of the catering for breakfast (thank you Andrea).

That night the Albanian team prepared for some typical dishes from their country which mixed with the rest of the events where simply fan-tas-tic (Doctor Who reference intended). A warm and special thanks to all the team at OpenCubed, not only for the wonderful supper but also for all the attention, care and patience you had with us all :-)

We had been sharing worries, experiences and laughs for almost three days when the day of the event arrived.

At this point we had already uploaded a bunch of photos and comments to the event at G+.

So, what happened Saturday? Well the first thing I did Saturday was wake up to the sound of my cell phone's alarm form the event I had created in G+ since I didn't need the event anymore to wake me up and without to much thought I deleted the alarm from my cell phone and set out to get everything moving. While I was having a bite, looking at the surrounding mountains, I tried to add a photo and comment to the event saying something like “here we go” but I couldn't load the event. I didn't pay much attention because internet access at 1000m wasn't all that good (which really helped to keep us focused on having fun).

We arrived at the conference hall a little after 8, where Alan Lord was already waiting for us. We opened up and got everything ready and that is when I saw that I had eliminated the whole G+ event when I deleted the alarm in my cell phone !! Incredible, Google is indexing and saving all the information in the world and I delete a whole bunch of comments and photos with some innocent and unintentional clicks on my cell phone and, on top of that, I can't get them back !!! Wordless…

Everybody started arriving, Stefan Warnat, Mani from Thorsmann (thanks for coming from so far away, I am glad I met you), the development team at ITS4YOU (12h hour ride in car!!), Alan, Studio Synthesis Team, Alex, OpenCubed Team, TSolucio, Giacomo Sanchietti,..

A quick test with vtiger to make sure we were in contact, presentations and welcomes and we started the event with a little over an hour speech from vtiger.
The slides can be found here
It was an interesting presentation. They showed us the new features of development on the new version and how to proceed with upgrades. Truth is that it is looking really nice, a lot cleaner and powerful, albeit we, the developer community have a lot of work in front of us, but I think this could make vtiger CRM a very important player in the CRM market.
We asked some questions about format of distribution for new modules, translations (hopefully moving it into database), flat-file persistence in user_privileges, multi database and webservice enhancements.
vtiger told us that they are aiming to have the new release for the end of the year.

After that, Giacomo from Nethesis presented Node.JS to us, he explained what it is and what it is strong in and then gave us a few examples of use with vtiger CRM. An asterisk event based integration layer with vtiger CRM and a proxy layer to vtiger CRM webservice interface capable of supporting 150 users using a customized Thunderbird extension and introducing information in and out of vtiger CRM without breaking. Sadly I had my mind on other issues and it totally passed me to tell Giacomo to do the speech with a hangout, so we didn't stream it. Fact is that the camera on the laptop wasn't working and I was more occupied in getting that to work.

Alan Lord, came next and showed us his GEOTools extension and explained the functionality, the pending issues and the fun parts of developing the tool. He did this on his own laptop while I was trying to get my camera to work so we didn't stream that either.

This was followed with a coffee break for some networking. We started to get to know each other and talked a good bit for a while.

When we returned we had lost internet connection and my camera was still not working. So I didn't stream my speech either. I spoke about Integrations. First some of the problems and hurdles that appear and next I listed some of the many successful integrations that exist out there.
I presented our yii framework based Customer Portal, our soon to be available RoundCube integration and also our integration project with Reportico
After that we were off to lunch, again a lot of networking, sharing ideas, worries and looking for solutions. Some very good ideas were appearing, many recurring from the previous days also. I will try to condense all that in other points of the diary.

After lunch the whole team from ITS4YOU presented their work. Impressive is the first word that comes to my mind. They spoke about Calculated Fields, Calendar4You, Business Case (now I understand!!), Reports4You (still to be released), Discount4You (still to be released) and then a whole suite of modules and functionality to support multicompany and multiwarehouse. Incredible work. @Matus, send me the screenshots and I will upload them here.

Next our host, Andrea from StudioSynthesis talked about the work he and his team from OpenCubed have been working on. He really skimmed over many projects and tried to communicate those that were not covered by other efforts or that had some special value. I found very interesting his approach to solve the problem we have customizing the product lines in vtiger CRM inventory modules. He and his team have created a set of master-detail modules where all the manipulation of the detail lines is done using KendoUI. First, this approach is nice because you have a powerful javascript library helping you to manipulate the lines and second, since the lines are really another vtlib module, it is extremely easy to enhance the lines in any way needed. He showed us an installation where they have over 30 fields in the detail lines!!

He also has taken our common project vtApps project to an interesting level, with special reporting capabilities close to OLAP cubes and all sort of wizards and tools for both the user and the implementor of the CRM.

At this point Francisco Hernandez shared with us a couple of very interesting entity diagrams that showed what a powerful concept ITS4YOU Business Case module is.

This was followed by two short presentations from Stefano Dolce and Matteo Bonardi who spoke about Materialized Flexviews and Infinidb related to vtiger CRM. Very interesting stuff, the materialized views with Flexviews is a really intelligent way to avoid the problem vtiger CRM has when launching big reports that kill the whole MySQL service (and sometimes even the whole server), and joining that with Infinidb for advanced reporting capabilities is a plus.

What was supposed to be our last speaker, Alan Lord returned to show us how he uses Talend to do ETL with vtiger CRM imports and show off how nice this tool works even with very high volume of unstructured data. I didn't know it was Eclipse based!

Finally Francisco Hernandez asked to speak and presented one of the most interesting parts of the day (and it was late by then). He really sincered himself with us, he explained how he did business and what problems he was having. He explained the issues he thought that had brought him to lose business in the last year and proposed some very interesting ideas about what could be done. Don't miss out on these slides!

We were over and it was a bit late. We closed up and organized to go to eat. All those that wanted to, came up to Carengo where we finished the night over a wonderful meal, prepared by (among others) Andrea.

We had an incredible time!

Please upload photos and comments to the event on G+

List of Assitants

NameCompany
Martin JurčišinIT-Solutions4You s.r.o.
Vladislav OleárIT-Solutions4You s.r.o.
Matúš SopkoIT-Solutions4You s.r.o.
Vladimír MeričkoIT-Solutions4You s.r.o.
Alexander KrawczykCrm-now gmbh
Alan LordLibertus Solutions
Francisco HernandezODIN Consultores
Stefan WarnatFreelancer
Brisilda MunguliOpenCubed shpk
Lindjana XhumariOpenCubed shpk
Edlira DushkuOpenCubed shpk
Lorida CitoOpenCubed shpk
Elisa DekoOpenCubed shpk
Tea TavanxhiuOpenCubed shpk
Alberici AndreaStudio Synthesis, s.r.l
Ledion MecollariStudio Synthesis, s.r.l
Matteo BonardiStudio Synthesis, s.r.l
Stefano DolceDolce Stefano
Lorenzo PerezJPL Tsolucio, S.L.
Omar LlorensJPL Tsolucio, S.L.
Joe BordesJPL Tsolucio, S.L.
Giovanni ChiozzaKFive
Gianni Lucini PaioniML Project S.r.l.
Alessandro Alaimo
Alberto Campagnari
Mani SadrediniThorsmann Co, Norway
Virginio LauriniPingitore Informatica
Giacomo SanchiettiNethesis, s.r.l

vtiger CRM Community Get Together 2014

This debate appeared various times during the few days we got together. There were various interesting proposals, from Albania to Acapulco… Let's see what happens…