In April 2004, SugarCRM launched as an open source project on SourceForge.net. Less than one year later in March 2005, the rapidly growing developer community needed someplace of their own to call home and SugarForge.org was born. The Sugar team envisioned a developer collaboration website similar to SourceForge but focused completely on the Sugar community. Now, five years later, SugarForge plays a significant role in redefining CRM around the world and is the destination to find extensions and plug-ins for the Sugar application.
Originally known as Sugar Open Source, Sugar Community Edition is a business application framework with an extensible architecture designed around a customer data model. The Sugar community has fueled the product innovation by building new features and integrations with other systems. One of the most important areas for tight cooperation between the core Sugar team and the open source community was internationalization and language translation. Language translation packs began to pop up immediately in the summer of 2004, but there was no central repository to share with other users. So as SugarCRM raised some venture capital to drive growth and closed it’s second round of funding a month earlier, one of its first acts was to create SugarForge as the collaboration hub for the community. Thus, SugarForge.org was born on March 14th, 2005.
The team within SugarCRM that built SugarForge included Clint Oram, Lam Huynh, and Julian Ostrow. Clint as one of the original SugarCRM project co-founders provided the vision and direction. Julian and Lam designed and built the site on gForge, but added a lot of features and extensions to create the SugarForge we know today.
The very first project started on SugarForge was the German Language Pack, which remained in active development for the next 3 years. Now the active German Language pack continues in the hands of Robert Laussegger, an active Sugar community member known by the handle roblaus.
Another early project was Synolia’s French Language Pack. The very first community extension to SugarCRM started in July 2004, the Synolia team quickly moved their French language pack project from SourceForge to SugarForge once it was available. The team at Synolia has been a long-time SugarCRM Gold Partner and a key contributor to the Sugar community. They have added numerous successful projects to SugarForge over the years and remain respected and important members of the SugarCRM community. Many thanks to Pascal Brunel, Vincent Rollin and the entire Synolia team for being the first to believe in us and encourage us to keep coding.
Another project added at the beginning of SugarForge is the Japanese Language Pack, which is actively maintained by another long-time SugarCRM Gold Partner, OSSCRM. Led by Ryuhei Uchida, OSSCRM is also responsible for many successful projects on SugarForge. Ryuhei, known as ruchida, is also a very active community member in the SugarCRM forums.
In as little as six months after launch, SugarForge had over a quarter million downloads from 100 different projects. A year later, SugarExchange.com was launched to provide a marketplace for the projects that were developed on SugarForge.org. These milestones were reached under the leadership of Andy Dreisch, who took over guiding SugarForge for some time and is now on SugarCRM’s executive team as Vice President of Customer Success.
In February of 2007, Susie Williams joined the Sugar team and assumed the role of Community Manager. During Susie’s time at the helm, SugarForge broke 10,000 registered developers in July 2007, 500 projects in April of 2008, and 15,000 registered developers in September 2008. Today Susie is the Director of Training and Sales Engineering for SugarCRM.
I assumed the role of Community Manager in April of 2009. During the past year SugarForge has continued to grow. In July of 2009, we exceeded 700 registered products and in October 2009 we exceeded 20,000 registered developers. At the end of January 2010, there had been a cumulative total of over 7 million downloads from SugarForge. Its growth has seemed so easy, it’s magical, but the Community Managers that have come before me have earned my respect.
There’s a lot that I wanted to accomplish, but there never seemed to be enough time. I’m so impressed by the achievements of my predecessors and I am truly grateful to be part of linage of such great Community Managers. After SugarCon 2010, I will be assuming a new role at SugarCRM as a Professional Service Consultant. I’m quite excited about the new challenges, but really wish there was time to do more.
Julian, Lam, Clint, Andy, and Susie have done amazing work bringing SugarForge so far in 5 years. Hopefully the next 5 years will be just as amazing. On that note, I would like to announce that Jason Nassi will be taking over stewardship of SugarForge and the rest of the Sugar Community. He will be pushing SugarForge ahead with a commitment to collaboration and open development.
This month, SugarCRM is launching a public Subversion server that will host the Sugar Community Edition source code. The first step will be creating a read-only repository that will be updated nightly. The next step is to create a contribution process that allows for members of our community to submit patches to the core development team. The goal is to incorporate the entire Sugar community into every step of the development process of the Sugar application.
Over the next five years, we’ll see a new way to work on SugarForge. Once the public repository is up and running and the SugarCRM project is successfully getting a strong collaboration from core developers and community alike – I believe we’ll see this integrated back into SugarForge and every project will benefit from effort being put forth on Sugar Community Edition now. We have also looked into the process of upgrading the foundation of SugarForge (gForge) from version 4 to version 5 and I look forward to that happening in the near future.
I want to thank all of you who have made SugarForge such a success. There has been tons of excitement over the past 5 years and I expect it to continue. I want to encourage all of you to continue contributing to the community, because ultimately, you are what makes Sugar great.