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The creation of the GevenHout Odoo VSF website

30/11/21 by Bas Koenen

Building an application outside of an ERP system is like going against the establishment. The goal of an ERP system is to have a solution for every type of business application, a website application included. Nevertheless I advised GevenHout to build an external website. Several experts advised not to do so.

At this moment it's months and a lot of effort later. I still don't know for sure if we made the right decision, but the confidence grows. What's for sure is that we didn't take the easy road. If we chose the Odoo website application we would have been ready by now. This would have been much easier, cost saving and faster. That's a fact we have to deal with.

Interesting summer

To understand our story I would like to take you back to last summer. After an investigation of several options at first we chose to use the Odoo website application. We knew it wasn't perfect, but who are we to judge such a large ERP system and it's website solution?

We tested the website solution and installed the Clarico theme. The first results of the website speed were disappointing. Before my ERP career I developed a website content management system. I knew that with these results it would be hard to start competition. Anno 2021 every new website must be lightning fast. That's the start of a website really. When a platform is not capable of having a larger than 90 web.dev score, it has a serious problem.

In my enduring drive to get the best or maybe out of despair I posted a forum topic "How would a headless website on Odoo look like?" Within 1 day there was an answer. How powerful a community can be!

Very recently a project started to connect Odoo to Vue Storefront. This forum answer made me smile. This was the thing I was searching for months. The timing was perfect, we were still at the beginning of our website project.

I contacted the GevenHout company owner and told him during his holiday about the recent discovery. Although I explained it like the best I could, I still don't know if he understood it fully. Nevertheless he gave me the green light to go on with the investigation. So cool he gave me that amount of confidence.

Why did we chose Vue storefront in combination with Odoo

At first the Odoo decision was made much earlier in March 2020 when we chose Odoo ERP over Dynamics 365 and a solution called Acadon timber. To choose another ERP system in the 2021 summer was not an option to be honest. To be even more honest, the out of the box website solution was hardly taken into account back in 2020. The core functionalities like Warehouse, Sales and Manufacturing were of much more importance.

So the decision was to be made on the website side. For this we had 4 options:

  1. Default Odoo website application

  2. Steersman solution. Self buit framework on top of Odoo, built by Steersman from Boston USA.

  3. Shop invader in combination with GraphQL connector, open source

  4. VUE storefront in combination with GRaphQL and a open source Odoo connector

Although not fully substantiated we chose the VUE Storefront (VSF) solution for a number of reasons. At first it is lightning fast with a very high web.dev performance score out of the box.Also Vue Storefront is a very powerful solution that has a total focus on frontend. It has 8000 stars on Github. Vue Storefront is open source, GraphQL is open source and there was an existing library with about 30 connectors between VSF and Odoo.

Overall the decision was made based on the future potential of this solution and because it is almost fully open source. This makes it a good investment for the long term.

The downside of the VSF solution is that the existingVSF-Odoo connector library was in an early stage of development. A lot of connectors still need to be built to make a website running.