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Technology Preview: xTuple Connect
The xTuple Batch Manager package (xtbatch) is changing its name to xTuple Connect (xtconnect). The new name reflects the greatly expanded EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) capabilities that this package offers in the upcoming xTuple Connect 3.5.0 release.
A primary goal behind these changes was to build a completely automated order receipt and invoicing process. The companies that buy goods from our development sponsors generate orders as CSV and XML files and place them on an FTP server. These orders have to be retrieved, reformatted, and imported into the xTuple database. xTuple then must create invoices for these orders, print them, and send electronic versions back to the companies that placed the orders.
Thanks to our two development sponsors we have been able to add the following features :
- Files can be retrieved from remote FTP servers by scheduled recurring jobs.
- Both XML and CSV (comma-separated value) files can be imported into an xTuple database by scheduled recurring jobs.
- Batch reports submitted can be sent to a printer or an email address, not just sent by email.
- Recurring Jobs can now be scheduled at a finer granularity - minutes and hours, not just days, weeks and months.
- Files can be sent by email or FTP as PDF, XML, CSV (actually any single-character delimiter, including tab and *), or HTML tables.
- EDI Profiles can be set to deliver documents in batches on a pre-determined schedule instead of sending them as the user prints them.
As side effects of these changes, all users of xTuple ERP get the following benefits, even if they have not purchased xTuple Connect:
- CSV Import has been integrated into the main xTuple ERP application. You can maintain CSV Atlases and import data from xTuple ERP instead of launching CSVImp separately.
- The MetaSQL editor from OpenRPT has been integrated into the main xTuple ERP application. This allows editing MetaSQL statements that are stored in the xTuple database or in files on disk to be edited and tested before being used in reports or application scripts.
- Query Sets have been added to the Export Data utility for generating more complex XML files than was previously possible. A Query Set is a collection of MetaSQL statements that get run in a specific sequence. The user can set the values of MetaSQL parameters before the queries are run.
xTuple Connect users can also submit MetaSQL statements or Query Sets and their associated parameters to the Batch Manager for delayed execution.
Some details of rebranding the product remain to be cleaned up, so don't be surprised when you see these:
- The package schema in the xTuple ERP database will stay unchanged (xtbatch).
- The application that you run to process jobs is still BatchManager
- xTuple Connect 3.5.0 requires xTuple ERP 3.5.1.
- Do not upgrade to xTuple ERP 3.5.1 if you use the Batch Manager until xTuple Connect 3.5.0 is officially released as at least an RC (release candidate).