Logic Works was originally incorporated in 1997 as a limited liability vehicle for the distribution of a Microsoft Access based ERP system. This was originally a pure Microsoft Access application. Multi-user issues soon became evident and the heavy network requirements for a multi-user system using Microsoft Access made this a difficult application to run reliably. The application was originally developed on Access 2 but the system was almost entirely re-written using MS SQL Server (Transact-SQL) stored procedures to ensure the processing load was on the server hardware to minimise network overhead and the demands on the client machine. The MS SQL Server version was not widely distributed. The SQL Server system had similar functionality to what webERP has now. It was developed for and used extensively for plastics manufacturing with preferred machine loading and capacity requirements planning capabilities. The logic of having the processing all done at the server with very little dependence on client software was amd remains persuasive. How then to make a graphical application without a large client application?
Back then, a new approach was needed and the answer was a web-based application which are of course now the universally accepted solution to allow geographically dispersed graphical input and display of data for database applications. At the time web-based ERP was revolutionary. Realisation of this fact coincided with exposure to SuSE Linux in 1998. At a time when server software in the form of NT Server had some real issues, SuSE was a revalation. As a way to provide robust, efficient, low cost server functionality for file sharing, email, proxy server and web-server. The richness and flexibility of the software available for the platform inspired me as did the availability of free development tools. Development tools that didn’t swamp the CPU or memory and worked on windows, Unix or linux. In particular the platform presented by a simple web-server, MySQL RDBMS and the PHP scripting language – with Linux running this platform now widely referred to as the LAMP platform. Solutions developed on this platform were:
- Required minimal investment in infrastructure to run them
- Incurred only minimal load on server resources
The choice of development tools was therefore much more considered than the early infatuation with MS Access and SQL Server. Work on webERP began in 2000 and the logic used in the MS Access based system formed the basis for webERP. Much had been learned about normalised database design as the basis for an efficient application and programming for scalability. The already highly normalised table design was originally converted from the SQL Server tables to MySQL using a small utility. The first release and birth of webERP was not until December 2003.