Sugar 7 – Setup a Development Environment

Build a Sugar development VM using Debian 7.8

This post is supposed to guide through the setup of a VirtualBox virtual machine for local development of Sugar 7.5.x. The OS of choice is Debian 7.8 as it is my personal preference for server setups and it currently fits all the software requirements of Sugar without much additional manual work.

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How to drive a small motor at different speeds using an Arduino

Control motor speed with Arduino
Control DC motor’s speed using Arduino

For one of my projects I needed to drive a small motor at different speeds, so I gave this a go by reading and learning more about what is required.

We can achieve that with an Arduino microcontroller by using PWM signals. For this project I am using an Arduino Mini clone, and decided to drive the motor with a N-Channel MOSFET (voltage controlled transistors), activated by a PWM signal.

PWM Duty Cycle
PWM Duty Cycle – Source Wikipedia

Keeping the frequency of the signal constant, and varying the width of the “on” time vs the width of the “off” time (changing the duty cycle), will make the motor spin at different speeds.

The signal values that Arduino expects for the duty cycle is from 0 to 255 and it can be set by using the function analogWrite(pin, value). By providing a different duty cycle value to our Arduino pin (in my case PWM pin number 5), the motor will spin at different speed.

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How does authentication work in Sugar 7?

Different application’s approach: Sugar 7 framework

For whoever is reading this article and is not familiar with Sugar on the most recent version 7.x of the product, it is important to note that the application’s core is now a RESTful based API.

The presentation layer is based on SugarCRM’s framework “Sidecar”, that uses quite a few Open Source libraries (including Bootstrap, jQuery, Handlebar and Backbone.js).

The framework’s MVC layer is cached/stored within the browser at the first application’s load and interacts with the REST API on every subsequent call, creating a more powerful experience as a Single Page Application.

The great concept around the newer application’s framework is that everything can now be achieved interacting with the application via API calls, if it can be done in the application by using the interface (except BWC functionality).

By doing so, the framework provides extreme flexibility and huge integration capabilities, and therefore it allows customers to build any business process around the application.

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Customise SugarCRM Case assignment from Inbound Emails

Creating Support Tickets from Emails is one of the core functionalities of a ticketing system and it can hugely benefit any organisation if the ticketing system is directly part of the global CRM implementation.

SugarCRM since the early days has included on any version of its CRM product a great functionality that is commonly used between my customers: the Inbound Email to Case creation (as in Email to Support Ticket creation).

To know more about how to set-up the functionality out of the box, for a Sugar v7.2.2.0 (latest Sugar version while writing this article), please refer to this section of the manual.

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Arduino and SugarCRM 7 – Do we have un-handled support tickets?

Following up on my previous post about connecting an Arduino to internet with an Ethernet module, I wanted to build a quick solution to notify the support team about un-handled customer issues on the CRM system.

Arduino Sugar7 Case counter
Arduino Sugar7 Case counter

The objective is to connect via the REST API to SugarCRM and give an immediate feedback to the team using an Arduino. The output can be anything; from an awesome smoke machine, to a rotating light, a small set of LEDs, a LCD display, an audio alarm, whatever really. In this specific case it will be a set of 5 LED’s and a buzzer.

This practical example shows how to bring together Arduino micro-controllers, basic electronic skills and software web technologies. The result creates a physical device that gives real time feedback for software users about something that needs immediate attention.

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How to get an Arduino clone and connect it to the internet for less than $8

Recently I wanted to start using Arduino embedded micro controllers, to refresh and improve my knowledge of electronics and telecommunications, the subject I studied back in the days at my beloved high school (Arturo Malignani in Udine, Italy).

On this post we will see how to connect an Arduino to the internet (and moving towards the “internet of things”) by using cheap components bought in eBay for less than $8!

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