Openbravo's User Experience Lab
GUI design, ERP Usability and Visual Design

Testing Yammer, Chatter and Teambox

Monday, January 31, 2011

Every couple of weeks I take the train from Barcelona to Pamplona. It is a four hour journey and although it seems quite long, I always enjoy the ride. Being offline lets me work without distractions on the more creative kind of stuff such as designing product features or writing blog posts. Or I just relax and listen to my iPod while watching the landscape blast by through the window.

A few days ago I was on my way to Pamplona once again and - following my ritual - after exactly 2 hours I decided to go for a coffee in the train cafeteria. While I got up from my seat, I noticed my colleague Xavi sitting right behind me! What a coincidence and how silly that I did not know he was (going to be) there. Using Facebook and Twitter, I know about the whereabouts and plans of many of my friends but I don´t always know what my colleagues are up to. So Xavi and I went for a coffee and donut and spent the following two hours talking about things that he and I were doing at the moment. We realized that our work activities have a lot of dependencies and that it would be good to know more about what other teams are doing. However, this is easier said than solved. The first problem is that none of us is really keen on planning meetings just to exchange information. The second problem is that many of us are geographically dispersed. Openbravo has staff in seven countries.

Would an internal social media application help to improve cross-departmental communication?

In the next few weeks a couple of colleagues and I will test Yammer, Chatter and Teambox. Actually we started this morning already with a couple of updates and I just learned that I have to bring back a tennis racquet to Barcelona this week when I return from the Pamplona office :-)

Thinking ahead, the next step could be to place one of these apps in an Openbravo Workspace Widget so you can use it directly from within Openbravo 3. Imagine how cool it would be to place links to Openbravo documents in status updates, such as "Jorge just received payment against invoice INV/010010". You would then just click that link and the document opens on a new tab.

Share your thoughts on the UX Lab forum.

Get your widget packaged in RC4

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Openbravo 3.0 offers customizable widgets that you can add to your workspace. In RC1 and RC2 we gave you static content, in RC3 we let you create simple widgets by pulling content from a URL.

For RC4 we will introduce two more types of widgets: HTML and Query widgets. This is were things get really exciting. The HTML Widget allows you to embed html code and the Query Widget lets you define a HQL Query with the columns to be shown. Here are two (real) examples, taken from a test server.

It does not take a lot of imagination to get an idea of the endless possibilities these widgets have. To give our users a glimpse of things to be had, we plan to include a set of cool widgets in Release Candidate 4. These would be role based so a sales person would e.g. get a widget showing the top 10 best customers by invoice amount and a finance person would see a pending invoices widget.

Now, we would like to ask you share your widget with us. The most useful (or coolest :-)) widgets will be packaged in RC4 so the whole world can enjoy them. You can either package them as a module and publish them on the Central Repository or just share the URL, code snippet or HQL query with us so we can paste them in.

You can share your ideas on the UX Lab forum. Bring them on!


  • Download this document to learn how to create Query and HTML widgets. Refer to the earlier How to Create Simple Widgets for the first steps on creating a simple URL widget.
  • RC4 is due for mid February 2011. Until that time, you can download the Query and HTML widget as modules to install on RC3.
  • To facilitate working with HQL (e.g. testing your HQL before pasting it in a widget) you can download and install the handy HQL Query Tool