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Compare ADempiere and iDempiere (ADempiere vs. iDempiere) Part 2

Hi Everyone,

I am frequently asked about choosing between ADempiere and iDempiere. I will do my best to give an objective view as well as offer my opinion. If you find anything missing or inaccurate, please let me know by either emailing me or submitting a comment.

The Choice

If you were new to ADempiere and iDempiere and you do not perform complex manufacturing, I believe going with iDempiere would be an easy choice for the reasons expressed below. Having said that, I have few concerns supporting the choice to go with ADempiere. 

My Opinion

I have a strong preference for iDempiere for the following reasons:

  • The iDempiere community is active and welcoming. My questions are frequently answered on the iDempiere group. 
  • iDempiere is significantly easier to install. Here is a script where you can copy+paste+click and iDempiere will magically appear 8 minutes later.
  • iDempiere runs on a smaller server. You can use AWS's free tier to host iDempiere for one year. This is advantageous when you have one or two users trying to learn and evaluate iDempiere. 
  • iDempiere has fixed many of the little annoying things that exist in ADempiere.
  • iDempiere re-designed the user interface. I believe navigation is more simple for a new user.
  • Almost all of the developers I have worked with over the last 10 years spend more of their time in iDempiere.
  • iDempiere has better tools for distributed developers. The iDempiere Pack In and Pack Out (2pack) features better ID conflict resolution. The central ID management process helps prevent ID conflict when contributing to the iDempiere core.
  • The iDempiere team spent a significant amount of effort to remove abandoned and half-baked solutions. The result was a more robust and easier to use application.
  • Here is a list of miscellaneous features that have been improved in iDempiere:
    • Attribute Set Instances values are not automatically created for each Material Receipt Line if you do not need them. This fact makes inventory management much easier when you do not care about attributes, lots or serial numbers.

Just about the only concept that will pull me to ADempiere is performing complex manufacturing using the Libero MRP2 feature set. iDempiere stripped out Libero for the sake of simplicity. See the below manufacturing section for more information.

Rate of Change

The iDempiere project stared in late 2011 as a fork from ADempiere. The project has moved with breakneck speed every since. You can browse the iDempiere commit history to get a feel for the activity. You can browse the application itself to see the results. 

It is worth going on a quick tangent to discuss the types of contributors to an open source ERP project. I generalize contributors into two groups: (1) Integrators and (2) Developers.

  • Integrators have a strong knowledge of business practices and UI configuration options. Probably half of ADempiere and iDempiere integrators can read the code. A smaller fraction can perform simple development inside the existing frameworks. I call this clerical software development. I fit into this category. I write processes, callouts, and perform small modifications to the core.
  • Developers have a strong knowledge of software development practices and architecture. They can create wholesale changes in how the application works. They create the architecture that runs my code snippets. They also help orchestrate major releases. 

Many of ADempiere's core developers have switched their attention to iDempiere over the last couple of years. iDempiere has made significant leaps forward in terms of abilities and formal releases as a result of this switch. ADempiere, on the other hand, has not created a formal significant release since the inception of iDempiere*. That does not mean that ADempiere progress has stalled. It just means that most of the ADempiere innovations have come from integrators. It also means that many of these innovations are hidden from the community because of the lack of formal releases. ADempiere community is currenty working on a 3.8 release.

* as defined by the sf.net official release date as of the date this article was written.

adempiere open source official release date resized 600

User Interface

iDempiere has done a good job improving the user interface. It looks nicer. The layout is more intuitive. It is more responsive. You have more access to information with fewer clicks.

What is OSGi and How Does It Help?

One of iDempiere's innovations is to use the OSGi framework. OSGi is used by the Eclipse IDE to create a plug-in deployment architecture. I believe iDempiere's goal in using OSGi is to give developers more options to create, package and deploy enhancements. I believe the vision is to create a marketplace for enhancements similar to WordPress and Magento.

One of the most noticeable impacts of OSGi comes when you set up your iDempiere development environment. You no longer have one large monolithic iDempiere project. Instead, every component of the iDempiere codebase is a plugin. This is a good thing if you have a distributed development team. You are no longer required to pass around 1GB files to fix small bugs.

The iDempiere development team has done a good job of shielding the average developer from the most of the complexity of OSGi. Examples include using Buckminster to automate the materializing of your development environment and integrating the Felix console to help manage plugins. If you are an ADempiere integrator, there is still some pain. No longer can you just copy a class to a customization project to override the functionality. You must now either (1) package your enhancement in a plugin, or (2) learn how to use source code repository tools to manage changes to the core codebase.  Either way, there is a decent learning curve for the average integrator.

Manufacturing

There are two options for performing manufacturing in ADempiere. You can view more information about these options here.

    1. Production - simple manufacturing for 'light' manufacturing scenarios. 
    2. Libero MRP2 - complex manufacturing for more involved manufacturing scenarios.

iDempiere stripped out Libero MRP2 for the sake of ease-of-use. The also enhanced Production by incorporating Adaxa's Manufacturing Light extensions. 

Here are scenarios where you will appreciate iDempiere's Production abilities:

  • You are a yoga products distributor and you buy big rolls of yoga mats that you cut to order. You can execute a Production order at the time of Order or Shipment. 
  • You are a distributor that employs contract manufactures to build your products.

Production is a nice tool to help you manage the consumption of material and the absorption of labor and overhead.

You can incorporate Libero MRP2 in iDempiere by installing Redhuan's Libero plugin.

Still in Common

It is worth mentioning the applications still share most of the same code. They behave similarly. They have following characteristics in common:

  • They can scale to hundreds of users
  • They use dominant and commonly available technologies
  • They feature an enterprise quality accounting system
  • You can manage multiple entities (sets of books) inside the same login
  • They are commonly used around the world in many languages
  • The code is easy to read and understand

Is the iDempiere Fork Concerning

Not in my opinion. The concept of ERP software supports an amazing diversity in both (a) types of industries and (b) needs inside an organization. The truth is that most products that claim they are 'Open Source ERP' only expose a fraction of the freedoms you expect and hope to see in open source software. ADempiere and iDempiere are pure open source. This fact means that anyone with an interest has the ability to take the software and use it to the best of their ability and the abilities of the community. It also means that your organization is free to invest in talent instead of user licenses. People still make businesses succeed. Software is just a tool to support productivity, accuracy, insight and accountability.

Summary

My intent in writing this article was to publicly answer the questions that many people are asking. If you have suggestions for making it better, please let me know. I hope this helps!!

What is the best way to Learn iDempiere and ADempiere?

teach an on-line class that covers how to learn, configure and audit open source ERP. It uses iDempiere as the reference ERP.  Here are the course frequently asked questions. I have learned much over the last ten years, and I have much to share. I look forward to seeing you there!!

Why consider Open Source ERP

Open source ERP gives you every opportunity to prove or disprove its ability to support your company's ERP needs on a timeline that satisfies your organizational needs. With open source ERP, you do not face the same financial constraints nor do you face the same conflicts of interest as with commercial ERP. Instead, you invest in the appropriate skills and knowledge for your people and processes. Best of all - if open source ERP cannot solve your company's needs, you can safely justify spending the additional $2K to $5K per person per year for life of your commercial ERP to help drive your organization's success.

ADempiere vs iDempiere vs Openbravo vs Compiere

The ADempiere, iDempiere, Openbravo and Compiere environments are amazingly similar. iDempiere came from ADempiere. ADempiere and Openbravo came from Compiere. Compiere came from Jorg Janke. Jorg came from Oracle. As a result, iDempiere and ADempiere have much in common with Oracle's ERP in terms of the financial feature set.

This is both good and bad. Good because iDempiere and ADempiere are quite capable to help a company grow beyond $500M USD. Bad because they tend to be more complex in that they account for multiple languages, accounting schemas, currencies, calendars, costing types, costing methods, etc.... If you are a growing organization, and you need a system that will grow with you, and you have the right internal talent/resources, iDempiere or ADempiere will be a big asset for you.

The biggest difference between these products is that ADempiere and iDempiere are pure open source. ADempiere and iDempiere make all feature available for free. Compiere and Openbravo hold back features behind a commercial or paid license.

iDempiere and ADempiere vs OpenERP

iDempiere/ADempiere (iD/AD) and OpenERP approach ERP from two very different directions. OpenERP comes out of the box with very simple options. If you are coming from QuickBooks, and you need a simple ERP system help you manage your business, OpenERP will look and feel comfortable.

iD/AD comes out of the box with every feature installed and configured to run a $200M+ USD business. If your business is growing rapidly, and you are willing to invest the time to learn an enterprise accounting system, then iD/AD will give you confidence.

Which one is best for you depends on your internal talent, growth and business complexity. Here is a post to help you learn more.

About Chuck Boecking

I am an ERP and BI integrator and educator. I believe that open source ERP and BI have achieved mainstream capabilities, and as a result, more companies can create greater efficiency across their organization.

I started using the ADempiere and iDempiere code base in 2003. Back then, it was called Compiere. In 2006, I started my first multi-million dollar installation. Since then, ADempiere and iDempiere have helped me create great success with distribution and manufacturing companies all over the US and Canada.

My vision of success is to find companies that can best use open source ERP and BI to deliver a single, global instance that drives a discontinuous increase in profitability.

I believe that organizations win when they own their processes AND technology.

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