iDempiere System Review – Open Source ERP

This is our detailed review of the open source ERP software iDempiere. Not sure what any of that means? You can learn what ERP is here. Find out more about other Open Source ERPs here.

Background

The iDempiere project stared in late 2011 as a fork from ADempiere. Adempiere was itself a project that was created as a fork from another Open Source ERP Compiere. It is not backed by any one company and is supported by a wide and engaged community.

iDempiere is a java based open source ERP software package. The first official release as Compiere was in 1999. In 2006 the Adempiere fork was made. In 2012 the first official release known as iDempiere was released.

iDempiere is a generic ERP, which means it does not focus on a single industry. It is designed in a way to by able to be used by many different businesses.

Hang on… What is a fork?

Well there’s the obvious answer but cutlery is not what we are talking about here.

When a project is Open Source all of the code is freely available. A fork occurs when someone takes a copy of the code and starts making changes separate from the main project.

Think of it as a fork in the road.

Sometimes forks will be merged back with the original project but it is possible for the new project to head off in a completely different direction and become a new product. This often happens when there is conflict between members of the original project that can’t agree on changes and this is what has happened with iDempiere not once but twice!

Languages

iDempiere has an official translation portal for user supplied translations although the state of the translations was hard to determine. There is mention of support for approximately 9 languages in addition to the default English.

License

iDempiere is released under the terms of the GPL v2.

What type of business should consider Odoo?

The original system, Compiere, was created for SMEs working in distribution, retail, service and manufacturing. The current iDempiere project also provides for the same types of businesses.

So these are the businesses that could take advantage of iDempiere.

  • Service
  • Retail and Wholesale
  • Distribution
  • Manufacturing

User Interface

iDempiere’s user interface is pretty old school. The more we played with it the more it reminded us of old school SAP. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to work in SAP then you’ll know what we are talking about.

Simple things like seeing a list of search results took us a while to figure out.

Although un-intuitive everything appears to be fairly consistent so once you get your head around the way it works then you should be able to be productive.

Mobile Friendly

The screens we tested appear to be responsive to mobile screen sizes. Many of them however require side scrolling and expanding of menus to be able to view all information available. This was especially noticable on a phone. A tablet sized device would be reasonable.

Mobile App

There is no official mobile App nor any 3rd party Apps that we could find.

Ease of Installation

Since iDempiere is a java based application it requires a full Java Development Kit installed as a prerequisite. It also needs a database installed with PostgreSQL being the DB of choice here.

Once you have these installed you can use the graphical installer, however it does require you to know the details of your database and other prerequisites. The documentation does a fairly good job of guiding you through the process.

Can You Run It In Docker?

There is an official docker image available for those that prefer to use docker to run their applications.

Hosted Enterprise Version

Unlike most of the other Open Source ERPs that we have reviewed there is no official hosted version of iDempiere.

If you are interested in setting up your own iDempiere installation then we are more than happy to provide a quote. Get in touch with us here.

Standard Features

  • Sales
    • Quotes to Invoice
    • Proposals
    • POS
    • Sales Orders
    • Work Orders
    • Invoicing
    • Shipment
  • Purchasing
    • Purchase Requisition
    • RfQ
    • Purchase Order
    • Material Reciept
    • Invoicing
  • Manufacturing
    • Product Life Cycle Management
    • Pool Resource Management
    • Manufacturing_Workflows,
    • Forecast Management
    • Planning Management,
    • Quality Management
    • Costing Management
  • Material Management
    • Inventory Control
    • Warehouse Management
    • Stock Movement
    • Stock Count
    • Price List
    • Bill of Materials
  • Accounting
    • General Ledger
    • Accounts Receivable
    • Accounts Payable
    • Financial Reporting
    • Cash Management Budgeting
    • Tax
  • Human Resource
    • Payroll
    • Employee Management
    • Contract Management
  • CRM
    • Sales Pipeline
    • Opportunity and Lead Management
    • Sales Stage Tracking
    • Email Campaigns

Extensibility

One of the key reasons why iDempiere was forked was to enable better support for modules.

There is a list of plugins on the wiki where many of these add-ons can be found. Due to the community supported nature of iDempiere there guarantee on the quality of the apps so make sure you do you homework before relying on one of these apps for your business.

Customisability

It is possible to customise the fields that appear on the existing screens of the system. While not exactly user friendly, like most of the user interface, it is possible to do this without having to resort to writing code.

Coding

For more extensive changes to iDempiere you (or someone you hire) will need to write a custom plugin.

To be able to get started on development a full development environment will need to be setup including a number of components including Eclipse and Java JDK. All code is written in Java and requires a fairly good understanding of the iDempiere code base.

Coding in iDempiere (or any of the *piere forks for that matter) is not recommended for an amateur developer.

Integration

As iDempiere is made up of a number of plugins there are many available that provide integration to other systems. It is recommended that you review the plugin list if you are interested in a specific integration.

API Access

External access to the system is available via SOAP using their Model Oriented Web Services.

The services allow access to data as well as the ability to run processes.

Summary

iDempiere is a complex but very capable ERP. With it’s long history there have been many businesses successfully using it. The fact that it’s evolved from a system originally written over 20 years ago shows in the usability of the interface as well as the complexity of the code base.

Due to this complexity and the un-intuitive interface it is difficult to recommend it over newer systems like ERPNext.

Are you considering using iDempiere for your business? Do you need expert advice that is tailored to you and your business? Create an account here and tell us about your business – we would love to help get the advice that you need.

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