E-commerce solutions have been around for several years. Back in the early days of online shopping, during the late years of the last century, E-commerce solutions were stand alone applications, built using modern web technologies. Integration between these systems and ERP systems were cumbersome, unreliable and insecure.
As open source ERP solutions began to emerged in the early 2000′s, web based business software became one of the hottest trend. There were many good reasons for that trend, one of them was the more natural integration with E-commerce solutions, slowly becoming a crucial competitive necessity for any type of business.
All open source ERP solution offer some E-commerce functionality, either as a native module or through an integration with a dedicated, stand alone E-commerce solution. We will cover these solutions in a series of articles, starting with Apache Ofbiz. We will later cover solutions and integration points from Compiere, Openrbavo, xTuple and others.
The reason we chose to start with Apache Ofbiz that it has the best native E-commerce functionality we’ve seen in any ERP system. It almost seems like it’s an E-commerce solution with an ERP extension. Another OfBiz feature we like is the user experience, which is vital to a successful online shopping store. Although the interface is not the most beautiful (OfBiz plans to tackle this issue by introducing themes), interacting with the interface is very smooth and it is very easy to find what your looking for. I believe OfBiz can make an excellent solution if a better looking, more elegant theme is used.