While Internet access is already a commodity in Europe, there are still many places
in the world without proper internet access. For these "off-the-grid" locations, Thuraya IP can provide internet
access (upstream/downstream of 384kb/444kb) using their durable satellite broadband
terminals. With the common use case for Thuraya IP
surely being much more "exotic" than what we normally handle at Nexedi,
we still happened to be working on a project which required ERP5 to run on remote locations
in China with no reliable internet access whatsoever - so we gave Thuraya a try.
Using a service such as Thuraya comes at a hefty price tag per Megabyte, so
we had to design our application both ergonomic and economic and quickly opted for
RenderJS based HTML5 offline-capable ERP5 interface which stores and
synchronizes data using jIO, our
virtual document database. The whole application was to be run on our experimental
NayuOS ensuring as little data as possible is
being sent through background processes and downloads.
With our web component framework
RenderJS we were quickly able to generate the necessary UI from generic,
reusable components and stored these in application cache keeping overall architecture
at a minimum while making sure the app would be downloaded to a client
on initial access only. On application level, jIO
was setup as a replicate storage utilizing both IndexedDB and synchronizing to the
central ERP5 instance. This way remote sites could work autonomously
with data being replicated to ERP5 in regular intervals (currently triggered
Keeping users data private has always a top priority for Nexedi - even before
operating systems like Windows 10 became
publicly scrutinized for sending data to backend servers regardless
of privacy settings. What started out as internal research project, resulting
in our first fully free Laptop has turned
into NayuOS, an operating system based on Android but free of most of the software
connecting to Google services in the background. We envision NayuOS becoming our
future operating system of choice and thus have a dedicated team working on NayuOS
around the clock. For this project NayuOS was an easy choice, because
we could actively control the data our application was exchanging while making
sure as little data as possible was exchanged through OS background processes.
Once we had a Thuraya device in hand it was time to do some real-world testing.
We setup camp on different spots around the office and after coming to grips
with the software, setting up our satellite broadband connection
was as easy as pointing the device in the correct direction with the suggested
elevation angle. We ran a couple of tests showing our applications initial load
to be around 500kb. We wrote several sample records to the system and then
synchronized with the main ERP5 server at less than 10kb per record. Other
background traffic was neglectable and working with the ERP5 over satellite was
a breeze. This meant at a pricetag of 4€ per Megabyte and an average of 100
records/day being synchronized our application could run over Thuraya at just
above 100€ per month - a job well done and ERP5 optimized for use over Thuraya IP.
We were happy to see all of our software components meshing well together and
having autonomous working units operating solely in the browser. Of course still
limited in functional scope, this is the direction many of our research efforts
are targeted to these days so stay tuned to our blog to see what else Nexedi is
coming up with in the months ahead.