Grails to iFreeTools CRM

October 21, 2009

Had to gain some domain knowledge on CRM/SFA (Sales Force Automation) and provide a solution for a client, to host in their premises.

My client was not so interested in Python and preferred the use of Java for the solution, more so after knowing my past experience. So after more than a year into Python was back into Java, evaluating frameworks for use in the project.

The search lead me to Grails.

The “Convention over Configuration” and “Don’t repeat yourself” approach which Grails enables was a pleasure to work with. (Except, where I believed that grails was against the DRY principles – having to define “constraints”, even for the sake of maintaining the order of properties.)

But, it was a lot better than having to code XML configuration files. One could easily configure/code Servlet Mappings, Filters and Tags, without having to add/modify a single XML entry. And even better, one could get a compiled war (with all those XML files) and deploy it in any servlet container !!

In the next week or so, building a CRM/SFA prototype using Grails helped me pickup stuff from both the domains. And, the way in which Grails works, made me want to approach Python programming for Google AppEngine with the “Convention over Configuration” and “Don’t repeat yourself” approach.

Though Django enables such features, I was a bit biased against using the full pack, since that would require packaging a “lot of files” – so much that it exceeded the file limits of initial Google AppEngine hosting and needed a new feature (zip packaging) to enable those features. I am allergic to “lot of files”, especially if I will have to modify a few of them to have it working my way.

And with the meta programming features available in python, I believed that it could be easier to implement a simple version for my requirements.

The result of that effort is : iFreeTools CRM (Alpha)