I’ve been experimenting with attachments ahead of deciding if I want to use Manager to manage invoice files (pdfs, scans, etc) internally. What I wanted to avoid was ending up with a singular massive file (the business data file) containing all these invoice files as it would result in slow local backups (which many others across the forum, including lubos, seem to agree with), as well as making network backups and cloud backups take increasingly longer with time as the business progresses and the file becomes increasingly huge. I can see down the track this would lead to a situation such as: making a change to one transaction record resulting in a few B or KB change in the data file but then having to sync an entire 100MB+ file as a result.
For me, storing invoices separately is a better solution, so at the moment I’ll be keeping a separate folder/s storing the invoice files, but naming them such that I can find one quickly using info I’ve entered into Manager (e.g. invoice date and/or number). My ideal would be something along the lines of Manager using location links to refer to these outboard files, so connections to the files can still be formed (easier paper trails, searching, etc), but it doesn’t have to store them internally and other programs can access them without requiring 2 copies stored on disk (i.e. one original, one contained in the business file).
The question following this then is how to ensure Manager always has the files, as linking to a file which might be nowhere near a Manager folder, maybe even on another drive, is a recipe for disaster. What I’d propose to address this is a minor adjustment to Manager’s file storage approach. Rather than each business being simply a file amongst all the other business files stored in the main Application Data folder, a business could become a Folder (of the same name) within the Application Data directory, and within this would be the “business.manager” file, along with a sub-directory called “Attachments” (for simplicity’s sake, but could be more specific e.g. “Purchase Invoices”). This would retain similar portability to having everything in a single file (which I understand is an important consideration you’re trying to maintain) as entire Business folders could be moved between devices. For situations where single-file transport is required (e.g. email) users could package (e.g. zip) the folder for transport and un-package (un-zip) at the destination. Even better, this packaging and importing process could be integrated within Manager itself. Further, this would allow for some more advanced features, which I’ve seen others discussing, such as removing excess old attachments before sending to an accountant in order to minimise file size for transport.
Is this something which has been considered already? There’s quite a number of attachment discussions here, so I may not have found an existing discussion/s about ideas like these.