Added ability to track whether email sent from Manager has been viewed

In the latest version (21.8.33) , Emails tab contains new Status column which can track whether recipient has viewed the email.

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To enable tracking, go to Settings, then Email Settings and select Link in Format field.

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When you view a document (e.g. invoice) and click Email button, Manager will attach to your email a box which contains summary of the document you are emailing with View button.

The recipient will see in their email client something like this:

Them clicking on View button will reveal complete document (e.g. invoice) and the Status under Emails tab will change from Sent to Viewed.

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For technical reasons, this feature is functional in cloud and server editions only. Desktop edition is unable to track whether email has been viewed or not.

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Is the viewed document static or dynamically created by Manager. In particular may the document viewed by the external party change with

  • Manager business file editing updates to the referenced invoice, payslip?
  • Updates of Manager program (correcting errors, adding features, or inadvertent bugs)?
  • Support program updates, such as pdf generator, fonts available etc?

I assume you mean the function only words on servers (hosted by NG Software or privately) which are accessible from the internet by all possible recipients. For uses with private servers with no or restricted external access this “feature” would not reliably function.

I restrict internet access to my accounting records for security reasons, but use Manager to email documents. For this type of use case I believe sending links would fail.

Static.

That’s correct. The links are hosted within Manager Server instance. They are not uploaded elsewhere on the Internet.

My customers prefer the PDF attachments rather than clicking a “view” button. Also we prefer attachments as most clients have no business to know on which server our accounts are maintained. You seem to fix some bugs for some with the PDF generator by ditching it altogether and come up with a solution that is fraught with more potential issues (security, a view link in HTML will really keep Spam filters and email gateways happy to blacklist such and never deliver invoices and receipts). I would advise to see if changing to for example Xpdf as PDF generator may resolve the PDF issues rather than getting rid of them altogether. It is also the first time you introduce a real compatibility issue between Desktop and Server/Cloud versions. Frankly I would advise you to not waste any time on this trajectory and try to fix the PDF generation issues where reported, or make clear under which restrictions it will work.

I just did test and rather than for our recipients to just open an attachment, they need to click on view which will open in a browser and then they need to Print to PDF to generate a PDF file that they can then save in their folders and open with a PDF reader. That is detrimental to what it was.

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I love what you have done with email @lubos. What I love most is the summary of the document emailed.

@eko the feature is an option at the moment. Your clients have the option to use this new feature or not.

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I am ware but it is in line with a long discussion where he wants to abandon the PDF generator and this is really not a good replacement, it is an addition welcome to some as you, but it is not a substitute.

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I support the complete elimination of the PDF generator. You have no idea the trouble this has caused. I’m not a programmer but I think the the output of the PDF generator will never come entirely under the control of Manager. Printing to PDF or using the “Save As PDF” after clicking on the print button is always going to be a better option. A small paragraph guide note to help users will be issued.

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You are not eliminating the PDF generator, you are just replacing the internal pdf generator in Manager with whatever pdf generator is available to you on the PC, laptop or server.

This could be a built-in pdf like that supplier by Microsoft or a 3rd party one you downloaded from somewhere.

You could still encounter problems

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Let’s just disagree on this. You got what you want, as you mentioned it is now a choice and let it be like that. Those that never had an issue with the PDF generator can happily continue their practice and you can use it as you prefer.

I am puzzled why you support total elimination when you can choose, why is that your business?

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Would it be possible to have an implementation of this functionality also through an external portal hosting compatible with standard hosting, ie PHP or ASP.NET? Or support us in the implementation through API? This, if implemented in a push way, would solve many security issues.

The existence of that button will always attract use and consequently complaining users until the users are forced to fall on the better alternative which is the print to pdf /Save As pdf option.

Lubos isn’t planning to remove it for the fun of it. He is trying to force users to fall on a better alternative.

Surely s in settings you can now enable the View functionality something can be figured to do the same for PDF. I do not understand why you favour denying those that use it without problem. I disagree that the new system is a better alernative it is not on the contrary. The problem @Lubos was trying to address was issues some have with PDF generation. This is what he should focus on, there re some generators that have far less problems and I listed one of them.

I searched the forum Search results for 'PDF @Abeiku' - Manager Forum and there are 12 posts you made regarding PDF most in 2016 and all those where there was a bug were resolved. Most dealt with feature requests. So not sure about how much this PDF generation is a real issue in any case.

For

  • the majority of users for which the internal pdf button has always worked this statement is false.
  • For Manager users who do not want to subject their customer to invasive internal monitoring this statement is false.
  • For Manager users who do not want to expose their account records to potential internet attack, this statement is false.

For the minority of users who believe in is impossible to have an internal pdf generator which meets their languages character requirements then they would feel relying on a web browser character support is the only way.

Personally I would be very surprised if multilanguage pdf printer drivers were not available, so believe a working internal pdf generator is a better option.

We agree it is likely support for the internal pdf generator will be removed. We disagree which is a better solution.

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Surprising how some of you think you are more concerned about potential security threats than Lubos. It funny how people can raise security concerns like Lubos doesn’t care or is now having internet security 101 lessons.

PDFs need to be generated on the client, not on the server.

The only time you can get away with generating PDFs on the server is when you can control what is being generated. For example, you are airline website generating PDF tickets. You know the only PDFs you need to generate are of certain size, certain font, certain language.

But with general purpose accounting system, PDF documents can be of any size, any font, any language… it can be anything.

And none of the cloud accounting systems can handle this. For example, I just pasted Chinese lorem ipsum into Xero invoice and generated PDF using their PDF button. Here is my PDF:

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If the argument is who cares about Chinese, Korean, Arabic, Hindi, Japanese and all other non-English character sets… well I do care about it and I want feature parity across all languages even if it means one feature will have to be taken away because it only works realiably for English users only.

You are right. There is. The best one which is open-source is Chromium. But Chromium is 200 MB and then you need all the fonts. Another 200 MB easily. Now Manager download is not 100 MB, it’s 500 MB.

Just so PDF button can be retained. Is it really worth it?

But even if I’d go this direction, there is still issue with generating very large PDF documents (e.g. General Ledger Transactions report). Servers will be always more constrained in resources than client computers.

You might have Manager Server running on simple VPS with 2 GB of RAM while even your mobile phone has 4 GB of RAM or more. Clients will have always more resources than servers. So PDF button would run out of server resources and simply crash much sooner than Print button and saving to PDF using your web-browser.

So these are two big reasons why PDFs should be generated on the client:

  • It works 100% for everyone.
  • It makes Manager Server extremely lightweight so it’s just 50 MB program which can run on anything.

What do we lose?

We lose ability to email documents as PDF. Manager can still email link to hosted document. If you want to email PDF, then you can always use Print button, save to PDF and send that outside of Manager.

When you remove the ability to attach a pdf copy of a payslip / invoice, please consider replacing it with the ability to sending the payslip or invoice as a html or rtf email body for those who choose not to expose their accounting records to the internet or use the desktop version of Manager.

The external party can then user their local print to pdf if they so require.

That’s all that is required and is used by a reasonable number of suppliers already.

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Emails freighten me too. They’re the least secure method of sending anything.

It does not. I posted that it is ctualy not possible (server hangs) to Print to PDF a large General Ledger Transaction file, it hangs on the preview the print driver tries to generate. The PDF generator cn handle it and is as mentioned resource hungry, but does not hng the server. This is replicable so @Lubos please try to do Print to PDF on a very lrge General Ledger transaction file, you will see that the server will hng and require reboot.

Trust in someone is good but checking is even better. Run for example cloud.manger.io at Website Security Test | Security Scan for GDPR and PCI DSS Compliance nd you will see it scores an F with quite some known vulnerabilities. My own server with its hardening and security settings manages a B, mainly related to the Manager App rendering of CMS.