FreeBalance Technology Update
José Saldanha, FreeBalance Vice President of Research and Development, described and demonstrated new technology at the FreeBalance International Steering Committee (FISC) conference in Madeira Portugal. He described how FreeBalance uses open source middleware. Mr. Saldanha pointed out that the FreeBalance software is not open source.
Vendors who sell a proprietary stack often means that the vendor has control over customers, according to Mr. Saldanha. The open FreeBalance system gives customers a wide choice in middleware and flexibility to change out components in the past. He described the differences in costs between open and closed source. Mr. Saldanha described how open source middleware reduces the problem of “bloatware”.
Mr. Saldanha describing advantages of component Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), and Servlet vs. Enterprise Java Beans to achieve a smaller technical footprint and better performance. He described how enterprise software is often tested in the “swimming pool” but open source tested in the “ocean”. He described the advantages of using the latest technology for security and quality.
Updated User Interface
José Saldanha demonstrated the new user-interface functional design. This includes ability for users to develop custom menus. Users can search for menu items by typing items. Breadcrumbs take the user to where users located. This upgrade of usability also improved performance significantly with rapid page rendering.
Mr. Saldanha described the layered structure in the FreeBalance Accountability Suite and FreeBalance Accountability Platform. He pointed out that this approach provides good reusability and extensibility. This also improves maintenance. The layered technical design makes for ease of deployment and improves scalability. He described the de-coupling points in the software.
FreeBalance Accountability Platform
Mr. Saldanha described the differences in using the FreeBalance Accountability Platform to design government applications versus using traditional technical platforms. The FreeBalance IDE provides:
- Form templates
- Report templates
- Internal messages
- Base government entities
- Security model
- Integration with FreeBalance Software
- Integrated Development Environment
- Technical Platform
The benefits of this approach include the ease of developing, integrating and maintaining software. This reduces costs.
Deployment and Scaling
Mr. Saldanha described horizontal and vertical scaling. He described the advantages of the new licensing functionality that support concurrent, named and enterprise users. The software can be licensed at very small components. He described the license key to add users and modules.
FreeBalance will deliver one minor or major version of the software every year. Functional updates are released every year. Technical revisions are available on-demand. Version 7 supports upgrades from any version to any other version with no intermediate stages. FreeBalance produces four revisions of the software every day for continuous testing.
The annual FreeBalance International Steering Committee (FISC) conference runs from January 16 – 19, 2011 in Madeira, Portugal. FISC provides an interactive forum to exchange Public Financial Management (PFM) good practices among international customers and PFM thought leaders. FISC drives the FreeBalance Accountability Suite product vision to direct FreeBalance GRP solutions. Previous FISC events were held in Mt. Tremblant, Canada (2010); Prague, Czech Republic (2009); Cascais, Portugal (2008); and London, United Kingdom (2007).