Exploring ADempiere Client and Performing Tasks: Part 1

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ADempiere 3.4 ERP Solutions

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Design, configure, and implement a robust enterprise resource planning system in your organization using ADempiere

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by Bayu Cahya Pamungkas | January 2010 | Open Source

In this article series by Bayu Cahya Pamungkas, author of ADempiere 3.4 ERP Solutions, we will learn:

  • How to establish a connection to a specific ADempiere server
  • The standard format of an ADempiere screen
  • Application preferences
  • How to perform tasks

At the start of a training session, a student from the class asks the following question:

I have just installed ADempiere on my computer and launched the ADempiere Web Start client to log in to the application. However, I do not understand what to do with the application's screens. Even though I am already familiar with Microsoft Windows, the structure of these screens is quite new for me. Could you please explain these screens to me?

This is not a naive question. Like all new users who do not have experience in operating ERP software applications, this student needs to know the purpose of the screen along with information on the buttons, tabs, and so on inside each screen. Once the users know the main function of a certain screen, they will use and operate the software more effectively.

The Connection aspect of ADempiere

Our pre-installed ADempiere application will contain a sample company data called GardenWorld company. To make ourselves familiar with ADempiere, we will access this company data, using a predefined user ID and password. Launch your ADempiere application server, and then launch the ADempiere Web Start client.

Checking the ADempiere client version

With ADempiere patches being frequently available, we need to know the version of ADempiere client that we are working on.

In the ADempiere Web Start client/fat client (not web-based version), through the ADempiere Login window, you can find the information that indicates the version of ADempiere in use. In this window, you can find the ADempiere client version by examining the information in the format 3.4.2s+P20091109. With this information, the system tells you that you are using:

  • The ADempiere 3.4.2s (stable) version
  • The latest patches installed on the system released on November, 09 2009

The predefined user ID and password

Coming to the ADempiere Login window, the system supplies us with a GardenAdmin User ID and an obscured Password. The question is: What exactly is the GardenAdmin password?

Exploring ADempiere Client and Performing Tasks: Part 1

Within your current connection window, the system will serve us with the GardenAdmin user ID. However, this is not the only user ID that is available. Our ADempiere installation has a common list of user IDs and passwords, as mentioned in the following table:

No

User ID

Password

1

System

System

2

SuperUser

System

3

GardenAdmin

GardenAdmin

4

GardenUser

GardenUser

We can try all of these user IDs in the Adempiere Login window. When typing these user IDs and passwords, check the Caps Lock status. The system will check the capitalization of the characters being typed. When supplied with a wrong password, you will get a User does not match password error message.

After typing your GardenAdmin password, you will be directed to the Defaults tab of the Adempiere Login window. Here, you have an option to set the Role, Client, Organization, Warehouse, Date, and Printer values. Leave the information as it is, and click on the OK button. You are now playing with a preconfigured GardenWorld sample client.

Exploring ADempiere Client and Performing Tasks: Part 1

Understanding the Client and System users

With the default ADempiere installation, we can group users into the following types:

  • Client users
  • System users

The type of user is determined by the kind of Role being used when connecting to the ADempiere system. A Client user is a type of user who has the rights to access Client information (for example, GardenWorld Client), whereas a System user is a type of user who has the rights to perform system-related tasks, such as accessing and configuring the Application Dictionary through the System Client.

With the Application Dictionary, you can perform low-level configuration, such as:

  • Configure the Table and Column definitions to save your data
  • Construct a Window, Tab, and fields to build your ADempiere window
  • Set up a Report and Process to generate your reports

Most of these parts can be done without altering the ADempiere source code. Any information in the Application Dictionary is user-extensible and can include user-specific configuration.

 

The GardenAdmin user ID is an example of a Client user. This user ID should be able to connect to the ADempiere server with the GardenWorld Admin or the GardenWorld User role. The System and SuperUser user IDs are examples of System users. When logging in to the ADempiere system, these IDs can connect with the System Administrator role.

 

SuperUser can be used to access both System and Client information.

Changing our ADempiere server connection

During our testing phase, it's quite common to have multiple ADempiere servers. At least, we will have both a demo and a production ADempiere application server environment.

You can choose your target ADempiere server by clicking on the Server field on the Adempiere Login w

Exploring ADempiere Client and Performing Tasks: Part 1

indow, as shown in the following screenshot:

During ADempiere installation, you will see an ADempiere Connection window. Complete the Application Host field with the target IP address (or computer name) of the ADempiere server, and leave the other fields with their default values. Ensure the connection between the client and the server computer by clicking on the Test Application Server button. If this button displays a green check mark, then the system will automatically put the information in the database connection information into this window. You can verify the database connection by clicking on the Test Database button.

When both of these buttons display a green check mark, this means that we have successfully connected to both, the ADempiere server and the database server. Finalize this task by clicking on the OK button.

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Which ADempiere server are we working on?

After logging onto the ADempiere web start client, information such as GardenAdmin@GardenWorld.HQ [sistematika-v{sistematika-v-adempiereadempiere}] is displayed at the top of our main program. Could you explain what it means?

Sometimes, after changing your ADempiere server connection, you need to check which ADempiere server you are working on. To do so, after logging into ADempiere, you can check the value displayed at the top of the main form, as shown in the following screenshot:

Exploring ADempiere Client and Performing Tasks: Part 1

The format for the connection information is as follows:

user@client.warehouse [adempiere_server_computer_id {database_server_ computer_id-database_name-database_user-id}]

Refer to following table for an explanation of the information shown:

No

Parts of information

Description

1

GardenAdmin

The user ID of the person using the ADempiere application.

2

GardenWorld

The user is accessing the GardenWorld Company (client).

3

HQ

The user is using HQ as the default warehouse.

4

sistematika-v (first)

The target ADempiere server id-in this example, the user is working on the sistematika-v ADempiere application server.

5

sistematika-v (second)

The target database server id-the user is connected to the database on the sistematika-v server.

6

adempiere (first)

The database name-the user is connected to the adempiere (name of database) database.

7

adempiere (second)

The database user ID-the user is connected to the database with user ID adempiere.

Managing ADempiere client

After successfully logging on to your ADempiere client using the GardenAdmin user ID, you will first be directed to the Performance tab. This tab contains a list of performance goal charts and bar charts. These charts are just an example of the default predefined charts. Navigate to the Menu tab to access the list of menus available, as shown in the following screenshot:

Exploring ADempiere Client and Performing Tasks: Part 1

In general, there are four main tabs available on the screen: Performance, Menu, Workflow Activities, and Workflow.

  • The Performance tab is used for measuring the performance of the company. This type of information is configurable and could be attached to a certain Role, in case we need to limit the user rights while accessing this information.
  • The Menu tab allows you to access all of the menus within ADempiere. It can be used to access Windows, Forms, Reports, Processes, and General Workflows.  Examples of menus are Purchase Order, Sales Order, Product, and so on. The availability of these menus is configurable and depends upon the access rights given to the Role.
  • The Workflow Activities tab is used to display the active running document workflow that needs your confirmation.
  • The last tab is the Workflow tab. This is used for General Workflow purpose. For example, while registering a product there is a step-by-step action to perform the product setup. First, we will define the Warehouse & Locators, followed by Unit of Measure, Product Category, Tax Category, and finally the Product. We shall discuss the workflow topics in more detail, later.

Working with the Menu

Pressing Alt + M will direct you to the Menu tab. There are two main sections to this screen. The first (left-hand side) section is the Navigation Bar, which contains shortcuts to access the Business Partner, Sales Order, and Product (for now). The second (right-hand side) section contains the ADempiere menus that are available for the user's Role. Select the Expand Tree option and you will get a list of the granted ADempiere menus.

Sometimes, there will be an underlined character in the menu  name (for example, Menu, File, and so on). With this underlined character, you can access the menu by pressing Alt + the underlined character.

Menu Icon

While we are taking a look at the menus available, there are currently four different icons present. The meaning of each icon is as follows:

Icon

Description

 

Exploring ADempiere Client and Performing Tasks: Part 1

 

Normal ADempiere Window: This window will be used for managing records, entering records, or viewing our transactions (for example, Purchase Order, Sales Order, and Accounting Fact Balances). Moreover, this icon will be used to perform an activity that utilizes the ADempiere form (for example, Matching PO-Receipt-Invoice, Import File Loader, and so on.

 

Exploring ADempiere Client and Performing Tasks: Part 1

 

Process: It performs tasks or jobs, which could be done in the database (for example, Generate Shipments and Update Accounting Balan

Exploring ADempiere Client and Performing Tasks: Part 1

 

Reports: Generates reports, which can be modified, exported, and printed easily (for example, Trial Balance and Statement of Accounts.

 

Exploring ADempiere Client and Performing Tasks: Part 1

 

General Workflow: Continuous step-by-step activities to achieve a goal (for example, Accounting Setup and Tax Setup).

Accessing menus

Throughout this article series, you will be guided through the process of opening some menu or executing some processes. For example, "open the Menu | System Admin | Client Rules | Client window". With this guidance, in the ADempiere main menu, you can open the Client window by:

  1. Clicking on Menu.
  2. Clicking on System Admin.
  3. Clicking on Client Rules.
  4. Finally, clicking on the Client window.

as shown in the following screenshot:

Exploring ADempiere Client and Performing Tasks: Part 1

You can follow this approach later, when opening another window.

Menu Lookup and creating shortcuts

Well, as I start exploring ADempiere and select the Expand Tree option, it gives me tons of menus. While I try to access, let's say, the Request window, I have to scroll down the menu screen to accomplish this task. It is absolutely unmanageable! Is there a way to speed up the search process?

  • First method: In the Menu tab, you can access the Lookup feature. You can find this feature in the bottom right-hand side of the Menu tab. Press Alt + L, type any text contained in the menu you want to locate, and press Enter. You will be directed to the first menu that contains the requested word. Press Enter again, and you will be directed to the next menu containing the requested word. You can press Enter as many times required, until you reach your target menu. After reaching your target menu, press Ctrl + Enter to open or execute the menu.
  • Second method: There are many windows that are used by our users while operating ADempiere everyday. Our accounting person will frequently access the GL Journal window, Trial Balance report, and other menus related to accounting. Fortunately, we can add our favorite windows, reports, and process menus to the Navigation Bar. Just find your menu (which you can do with our first method), then right-click on the menu, and it will show the Add to Bar popup menu, as seen in the following screenshot:

 

Exploring ADempiere Client and Performing Tasks: Part 1

Click on Add to Bar, and your favorite menu will be added to the Navigation Bar. Next time, we may just go to the Navigation Bar and click on the appropriate menu to speed up our operation.

A menu added onto the Navigation Bar is saved into the user's Role. All of the users connected to this Role can access the predefined menu listed in the Navigation Bar.

ADempiere 3.4 ERP Solutions Design, configure, and implement a robust enterprise resource planning system in your organization using ADempiere
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User preferences

Occasionally, we may check our preference while working with the ADempiere client. We could access this window by selecting Tools | Preference on our main window or on each ADempiere window. Here, we will have five tabs of information, as shown in the following screenshot:

Exploring ADempiere Client and Performing Tasks: Part 1

The explanation of each of the tabs is as follows:

  • Preference: This contains a list of options that can be used to define the default ADempiere client behavior for the ADempiere user. This configuration is saved on the local computer and will work only on this computer. For example, when we select the Automatic Login and Store Password options, every time that the user runs the ADempiere client on the computer, the system will use the latest user ID and password. It will bypass the login window and go directly to the main ADempiere client window. Although this is useful when working with the ADempiere demo environment, it could be dangerous when working on a production or live ADempiere environment.
    A list of recommended values for the most important fields is as follows:

    Group

    Field

    Value

    Description

    Login

    Automatic Login

    Deselected

    No need to enter login information. It will work if the Store Password option is selected.

     

    Store Password

    Deselected

     

    Saves the password on the local computer.

    Window

    Show Accounting Tabs

    Selected (if applicable)

     

    It will show accounting information such as setting up the default chart of account and accounting journal. This field is enabled when the user's Role has accounting access rights. You could grant a right by selecting Show Accounting fields in the Role window.

     

    Automatic Commit

    Selected

     

    After saving a document, the system automatically commits information into the database.

     

    Cache Windows

    Selected

     

    Every ADempiere window, which has previously been called, will be cached. With the cache enabled, this window will be available very quickly if it is called again, as there is no need to re-create this window again.

     

    Single Instance per Window

    Selected

     

    While deselected, we could get more than one instance of a window. For example, while opening the Product window, click on the Product menu again. Now, there will be two instances of the Product window. To avoid any confusion while working with multiple Product windows, it is suggested to have a single instance of the window.

    Connection

    Connection Profile

    LAN

    Currently, the most implemented feature shall use the LAN Connection Profile.

    Trace Information

    Trace Level

    WARNING

    If necessary, we can grab information about what is happening behind the scene. Most of the information provided is for technical auditing purposes. If we set it to a deeper level (FINE, FINER, FINEST, ALL), then the performance of the application will dramatically degrade, as it will write or log all of the information.

     

    Trace File

    Deselected

    If selected, then all of the trace information will be saved in the file.

    Printing

    Printer

     

    If we had many printers connected to the computer, then we could choose the default printer for printing purposes.

     

    Always Preview Print

    Deselected

    When we click on the Print button, with this option deselected, the result will directly go to printer.

     

  • User Interface Theme: Change to the theme which best suits your needs.
  • Info: Contains information about the ADempiere system itself. The most important information contained is: In which Role are we connected, and where is the Adempiere.properties file saved.
  • Context: This is a list of internal ADempiere variables. These variables will be used intensively when applying the configuration in Application Dictionary.
  • Errors: This contains information about the error from the application (if any).

The Info, Context, and Errors tabs are mostly used by Technical Support if you encounter a problem with your ADempiere environment.

More on the Cache Window option

ADempiere will build all of the ADempiere windows based on the configuration in the Application Dictionary. If you do not select the Cache Window option in Tools | Preference, then upon opening a window, ADempiere will read the configuration again and re-create the window. This will take time! 

Although it is suitable for testing purposes, ensure that you select the Cache Window option in the ADempiere Production or Live environment.

Parts of the ADempiere window

Open the Menu | Requisition-to-Invoice | Purchase Order window. All ADempiere windows will consist of six standard parts, as highlighted in the following screenshot:

Exploring ADempiere Client and Performing Tasks: Part 1

The description of these parts is as follows:

Part

Description

A

Main menu for this window.

B

Toolbar shortcut to access menus that are available on the main menu.

C

Area for entering or viewing information.

D

List of tabs of information. This will mostly be used for splitting master detail information. For the Purchase Order window, the first tab consists of Purchase Order header information, and the second tab consists of the PO Line. This contains items or products that we need to buy.

E

A status bar showing system information such as Record saved, Navigate or Update record, Total value, and so on.

F

Record information (Record Info) showing the database table name and internal record identity for information in the active tab. This can be used to track any changes, if necessary.

More on Record Info

To get a better understanding of Record Info, open the Menu | Requisition-to-Invoice | Purchase Order window. In the active Purchase Order tab you must double-click on part F of a window. The information we will get is similar to the following screenshot:

Exploring ADempiere Client and Performing Tasks: Part 1

In the previous screenshot, we can see the following information:

  • All information related to the Purchase Order header will be saved in the database to the table with the name C_Order.
  • The Primary Key (internal unique record identity) for the C_Order table is C_Order_ID, and has the value 1000003.
  • If the auditing feature is enabled, you will have information about field value changes. In this screen, the column or field C_Order_ID has been updated with the value 1000003, by GardenAdmin, at the time specified in the Updated column

When we have information such as 0/0 in the F  window area, it means that there are no records available for this window. When it shows 2/5, This means you are accessing the second record of a total of five available records. Please note that the system will show Record Info only if there are records available in a window.

OK or Cancel button in the window

Throughout this article series, there will be tasks that require you to click on either the Cancel or OK button in a certain window. Take a look at the following screenshot:

Exploring ADempiere Client and Performing Tasks: Part 1

The Cancel button is the button indicated by a red cross, whereas the OK button is the button indicated by a green tick.

>> Continue Reading:  Exploring ADempiere Client and Performing Tasks: Part 2

About the Author :


Bayu Cahya Pamungkas

Bayu Cahya Pamungkas has an experience of working in various financial and manufacturing industries. He is currently employed as a functional consultant on both financial and manufacturing domains for a leading proprietary ERP. He also works on implementation of project management software for apparel industries. With his experience and background, he established his own consulting company and implements ADempiere for customers around the world. You can reach him on his blog at http://sistematika.web.id.

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