Work continues on the Channel Management Framework, and this week I have made the current plugin file repositories on Github public.
There are three main reasons for doing this :
How they all fit together is explained in more detail on this page.
I've posted several times over the last few months regarding the CMF functionality but unless you're running a copy of the Nightly, chances are high that you haven't really had a chance to have a look at this new code.
In line with the nature of Open Source software, I've always tried to be as open and candid as I possibly can with respect to this project, only hiding areas that must be hidden for business reasons. Transparency breeds trust, opaqueness does not and in these worrying times trust is vital as we move forward from the devestating effects of Coronavirus.
This new functionality is taking up a considerable amount of my time. Here in Spain we have just begun to come out of lockdown and we're starting to understand that the effects of Covid-19 on the future of the travel industry. I think it's fair to say that Spain's summer season is going to be largely a washout compared to previous years and a lot of property managers and small OTA businesses will be in pain while they try to get their industry back on it's feet.
Exposure of this new code allows you, my customers, to see that I'm working on ways to move business forward in a way that's beneficial to you. You want to know that I'm still working on the project providing functionality that will help you and your customers.
As you are probably aware the goal of the CMF is to allow multiple different Channel Managers to connect to Jomres installations. This is done through the use of Thin plugins (e.g. Jomres2jomres and the Rentals United plugins) which use the CMF plugin and the CMF API plugin to talk to Jomres.
Although I've been working on the new CMF code now for well over a year, Covid has helped to underline for me that greater connectivity beween Jomres and the rest of the world is vital if my users are going to be able to make it through the next year. They will need to get their properties listed on as many different channels as possible to maximise the chances of gaining bookings.
Each of these thin plugins takes time to develop. Over the last few months I've had quite a few requests for connections to a variety of different channel managers, which tells me that 1. There are lots of people looking for ways to use Jomres with their existing channel managers and 2 there's no way I'm going to be able to find the time to develop a Thin plugin for each channel.
My purpose, therefore, for making these plugins publicly available is to give Channel Managers basic blueprints they can work from to make their own Jomres CMF thin plugins.
It's important to note that at the time of writing, this code is still a work in progress and is Alpha quality, which means that features and functionality are still being figured out and added.
The CMF API plugin is more or less complete but I'm working with Beds24 in fine tuning and tweaking how it works.
The main CMF plugin is largely complete but I'm well aware of the old adage by Helmuth von Moltke the Elder that
"No plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force."
This is a fact that's as relevant in software development as it is with war. Until you've given the software to the customer to use and abuse, you should never be confident that it's perfect. Once users have started to use the functionality then feature requests and suggestions will swiftly come and refining and refactoring is often the result. For instance, working with Beds24 as they get to know the new REST API functionality has necessitated a variety of changes to the API to ensure that it works in a consistent manner and behaves as expected.
The Rentals United thin plugin's development recently had to take a back seat, for reasons that I wont go into, and instead I had to push efforts into the Jomres2jomres plugin. The Jomres2jomres plugin development necessitated a lot of rewriting in various areas which means that the RU plugin is now somewhat behind, however I believe that the RU plugin will be the one used by Channel Managers as the blueprint for their own thin plugins. It is, therefore, my goal to ensure that the RU plugin is brought up-to-date as soon as possible.
I'm currently working on how the CMF handles remote property changes, and once that's done, then I'll be able to move the code from Alpha to Beta status. Due to the disruption that Covid has brought this is later than expected but not by much. The change handling is the last piece of the puzzle, and that's up and running now although I still need to add some meat to the bones, and once these two Thin plugins are working then it'll be time to work on new Thin plugins for other Channel Managers.
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