Abre is an open-source platform. This means the code is available for all to use and view. We like to give folks options and we like to be transparent with the software they adopt.
The community edition and the managed solution have advantages and disadvantages. We’d like to provide insight into what may be the best for districts and schools.
You can download the community edition any time. With the community edition, you are in charge. This means you are responsible for installing, running, updating, and ensuring security. Support with the community edition is a group project. Any community member can ask questions and provide answers on the community forums.
The community edition is free. But we like to say it’s free, as in “free puppy”. Abre needs attention if you plan to run it on a production server. And depending on what applications you decide to run in Abre, you really want to give it attention. Updates are important. Security reports are important. Given the nature of what you may be recording (social security numbers with the Directory App, identifiable information for students with many Abre apps, etc.), you will want to maintain the most up-to-date code base and practices.
The advantages to the community edition are:
- You have full control over the development and deployment of Abre
- Costs are minimal
- You can create your own apps that serve your district
- You can adapt Abre to your district needs
The disadvantages to the community edition are:
- Someone will need to dedicate time to maintaining and running Abre
- Someone will need to integrate Abre with 3rd party applications
But really, how much work is this “free puppy”?
It’s work. We’ve run Abre in Hamilton City School District for nearly 3 years. During those three years, we’ve applied hundreds of updates and code fixes. We’ve managed to make Abre the cornerstone of the school district and painless in its operation. But it takes attention. You cannot set it up and walk away.
That said, we always encourage folk to try! We’re educators and know the value of “learn by doing”. Many of us learned to code on open-source projects like WordPress and Moodle.
The managed solution takes all the work away from the district. It’s best suited for districts who do not have the ability or personpower to run a core district platform.
The advantages to the managed solution:
- Integration with 3rd party integrations
- Security and updates
- Service level agreement
- Cost (Although we make the case you actually save money with Abre.)
A Hybrid Solution
We sometimes recommend districts run a hybrid solution: A community edition to try their hand at coding and get students interested in developing Abre apps while paying for a managed solution so they don’t need to worry about production level issues.