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LedgerSMB Direction Statement, Draft 3

Hi-- any feedback on this version?

I added a primary focus section to mention that SMB's are expected to
be perpetually a central focus of this project.

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers

Statement of Direction for LedgerSMB

LedgerSMB began as a fork of the popular open source SQL-Ledger
accounting software.  The initial aims of the project were to offer
better security and data integrity controls.  However, very quickly
the projects began to diverge.  This document spells out the basic
long-range goals of LedgerSMB as a community project.

Goal 1:  LedgerSMB as Business Infrastructure
In order to meet changing needs of a diverse market it is important
that as LedgerSMB grows, that it becomes an easily extensible (and
even in some cases invisible) part of the data infrastructure of a
business.  In essence, it must eventually be possible to separate the
web user interface from the software as a whole.  Important
requirements we should strive towards are:
 1)  Separation of mechanism from interface
 2)  Generic, reusable components wherever possible
 3)  Scriptability from local and remote programs
 4)  Extensibility of the core logic in forward-compatible ways
 5)  Security should be a top priority both in architecture and code

Goal 2:  LedgerSMB as Web Application
The LedgerSMB web interface must be extremely easy to use, but more
important, it must always do the right thing accounting-wise.  At the
same time, the work-flow should be as streamlined as possible.  If
people want a mechanism to do something that is not generally accepted
in accounting circles, then that button must map to an automation of
the accepted way of doing it.  For example, a delete button might map
to a function which posts a reversing transaction.  Important
requirements we should strive for here include:
1)  User-friendly naming of things.
2)  When given a choice of two potentially problematic solutions,
the solution taken must try to detect the problem and warn the user.
3)  The software should be sufficiently easy to use that it can
compete with Quickbooks and similar software in their home markets.
4)  A strong user support structure including contextual help,
mailing list support, and commercial support options available from a
variety of sources.
5)  Support from the CPA community.

Goal 3:  Universal Adaptability
LedgerSMB should strive to be able to meet the needs of all businesses
whether large or small anywhere in the world.  While it is necessary
that some markets will initially require more more attention than
others, the general application should be designed so that it can be
extended to other environments.  Requirements here but not mentioned
above include:
1)  Using localization frameworks wherever appropriate.
2)  Providing hooks more advanced transformations (including
writing in various directions).
3)  Providing the ability to plug in rules for local regulatory requirements.
4)  Support from consultants in a variety of locales.

Primary Focus:
In line with the aforementioned goals, the LedgerSMB project's current
priority is to provide an extremely capable yet user-friendly
accounting and ERP solution to small to mid-size businesses in all
locales where there is interest in using the software.  Furthermore,
regardless of what other markets are considered, the focus on small to
mid-size businesses should never be reduced.  Such a focus offers an
opportunity to provide a positive user experience in ways which are
not present in larger organizations.  LedgerSMB ought to strive to be
both the ideal SMB accounting/ERP package and also a solution that a
start-up will never outgrow.  The goals mentioned above will help us
provide this ideal solution by allowing us to focus both on technical
architecture and on user experience.