SugarCRM and Java Integration : Introduction

Overview Of The SugarCRM Platform:

SugarCRM is a widely adopted Customer Relationship Management System. the product is basically built on the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL & PHP) open source stack. However, ever since the version 4.5 release in August 2006, the application also runs reasonably well on Microsoft’s Windows Server operating system and SQL Server database.
SugarCRM is released under the Mozilla Public License and the GNU-GPL license and has taken a lead among the approximately 20 open source CRM applications.

In my opinion SugarCRM company Has adopted a modern philosophy in software development .The company opted for a strategy to open their technology to complementors and create economic incentives (such as free or low licensing fees, or financial subsidies) for other firms to join their CRM ecosystem and adopt the SugarCRM platform technology as their own. In fact SugarCRM firm followed two main strategies in their software development model .The first strategy is based on the mantra of “free, but not free”. SugarCRM give one part of the system away to some users (community or the general consumer) but charge others (corporate users). However it seems they didn’t opted for the strategy of “open, but “not open” make access to the interfaces easily available but keep critical parts of the technology proprietary or very distinctive. Instead they choose to give complete access to the underlying source code , allowing clients & companies to customize, integrate and extend the SugarCRM application with in-house technical resources to control their own requirements.

By looking to their SugarForge.org web site, you can see the wealth of projects that have been developed as extensions or Integrations to the SugarCRM system. Available source code, good documentation, training programs and a relatively active community provide the hallmarks for a successful open source effort.

SugarCRM Integration:

While the core of SugarCRM application is designed to manage a Company’s Customer Relationship, it is very likely that at some points the company might feel the need to do some integration with its CRM system. For example it might integrate its phone system to automatically make entries to SugarCRM when inbound or outbound calls have been made, connect registration of a web application with sugar system to create new accounts automatically to SugarCRM, connect a LIMS in various ways to Sugar ..and so on…

I had the chance to be involved in a project to Integrate SugarCRM with OpenOffice.org suite applications using the Java Programming language. This project was first funded by Appinux.com who hired me to develop a “OpenOffice Addon for SugarCRM. The project is open sourced and freely available to sugarCRM community.
Unfortunately -due to funding limitations-I could only release a minimal version of the plugin which I’m hosting at sourceforge.net : “OpenOffice Addon for SugarCRM
I’m now in charge of the project & have future plans to enhance it with more features and better design. Due to luck of funding and limitation of time, my progress might be slow in this project . but i’m committed to bring it to a decent degree of maturity in future. Of-course Java Developers are welcome to join the project if they are interested!

This being said , I’m planning to blog every now and then about the “OpenOffice Addon for SugarCRM project ; covering topics on SugarSoap API , Sugar and Java Integration , Sugar and OpenOffice Integration and other topics that might raise interesting during the ongoing project development process.

In the next article I’ll introduce the SugarSoap In Java Tutorial. SugarSoap is the SOAP Based SugarCRM webservice which enables Java developers to connect to Sugarcrm and interface with the variety of sugar services exposed by SugarSoap API.