Internal PDF generator now obsolete

Starting with version (21.8.51) I’m making ability to generate PDF documents within Manager obsolete. There are now two approaches to create PDFs within Manager.

New approach


Click Print button

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Then use Save to PDF or similar option to create PDF document.

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When sending emails, under Email Settings, the default sending format for new businesses is set to Link.

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This will email recipient secret link to document which they can Print to printer or PDF themselves.

Old approach


The old approach is using internal PDF generator which will continue being part of Manager however I’m no longer going to support it. If it works for you, you can continue using this otherwise switch to new approach.

When in Email Settings, the Format is set to PDF

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You will see PDF button side-by-side to Print button and when sending emails, Manager will send document in PDF format.

Why you should switch to new approach over old approach


  • New approach supports HTML5/CSS3 which allows to customize your invoices, orders, quote to much higher degree.
  • On most platform print preview is shown after pressing Print button allowing you to set document size, scaling, margin, orientation and other options before creating PDF.
  • When emailing from Manager, you can track whether recipient has clicked the link which gives you assurance your emails are being opened and viewed without asking recipient whether they’ve received it. However this works on cloud and server editions only.
  • New approach fixes all the bugs regarding non-Latin characters and custom fonts.
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Does this mean flex, float and grids are now possible?

Honestly not sure about the state of flex/grid layout methods. But whatever support there is for printing flex/grid, it is being continuously improved. As a workaround, I’d still use table-based layout but flex layout model does have some nice features such as ability to vertically stretch the content across the container. This would be useful when people want invoice to take the entire printed page regardness how many line items you have.

Why would an amazing feature become obsolete?
The new methods of converting to pdf mess up my templates big time.

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@brian_itsup how can this be possible? Internal PDF generator was supporting only subset of HTML/CSS while new approach should support the entire range of HTML tags and CSS declarations.

A lot of users were actually using what is now the new approach for years because the old one didn’t work for them.

Thank you sooo much!

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Two Questions

Customer Portal Pdf Creation

How will the Customer Portal support clients creating a Pdf for their invoices? Currently you can only view invoices in the customer portal, but I assume the long term plan is to allow customers to create and download invoices in pdf format.

Using an external Pdf printer issues

When I get back from my holiday, I will need to check if this problem is still present. If it is, how would you suggest these formatting issues be resolved.

I was originally using Nitro pdf and moved to using the internal pdf editor on the basis that it would better support default and custom themes in Manager better than a 3rd party addon.

However, I will consider going back to Nitro as it would solve my custom column for warranty and background colours issues with the internal pdf editor as well as an xhref error that I get using Manager pdf. Using Nitro will mean that I will have to address the wide margins issue as well as logo and header alignment.

How to do batch pdf in New approach?

There is no Batch PDF anymore. There is Batch View instead. When doing batch view, you can then use Print button to save to PDF as usual.

I would have no problem with this with one big exception. I have two division, each with their own logo. the main logo prints just fine but for quite a few versions now the custom theme logo will not show up in the Print function. It does, however show up just fine in the PDF created by manager. So - for all those invoices I’ve been creating a PDF and then printing them so they look correct. A bit more bother, but it worked.
Can we figure out why the Custom theme does everything else correctly but won’t send the logo to Print but works fine in PDF?

Thanks.

How is your custom logo defined in your theme? Is it base64 encoded image in src tag or something else?

So since yesterday the internal pdf generator started having a shadow cursor before the numbers as per image below. Is it possible to fix this before it becoming obsolete and no additional support please? as there is issues with using the save as pdf function, such as page numbers dont show.

Looking at Manager v21.8.56


It appears you have also removed the ability to email payslips and invoices inline.

Unfortunately that means now

  • Manager has completely lost the ability to email payslips or invoices

  • From a private server where the business owner chooses not to expose their accounting system to the internet or from the desktop version of Manager

In my opinion that is a massive loss of functionality.

@Q.Pods fixed in the latest version (21.8.57)

@Patch unfortunately “inline” is not viable. Maybe in a few years. The issue is email clients. There is massive inconsistency among email clients how HTML is rendered even if email client is web-based - there is a lot of sanitizing going on. Even if the function seemed like it’s working for you, it is guaranteed it won’t work for recipients. For desktop edition, I’m now recommending to print to PDF and send PDF to recipient outside Manager.

So for NG Software customers who have bought the server versions because they didn’t want to expose their accounting records to the internet, (or do not want to guarantee it is accessible from the internet 24/7 by their employees / customers / suppliers) you are recommending when sending out payslips to employees:

  • View a payslip
  • Save the payslip as a pdf
  • Go to an email client
  • Create an email, find the employees’ email address and insert that in the email
  • Attach the pdf saved above
  • repeat the above process for every employee without making any clerical errors
  • Repeat the above process for every employee every fortnight

I do not consider that a viable work flow. A viable work flow requires

  • The document generations software maintains the association between the document and the recipient address
  • An internal email client and document content generation is ideal (current Manager system)
  • Linking to an email client where Managers sends both the email address and document content would be another solution

If that is the case then, Maybe in a few years the the ability to generate PDF documents within Manager will be obsolete.

I appreciate you would like to no no longer support internal PDF generation however that is very different to it being obsolete. Until there is a viable alternative then the functionality is not obsolete, it is a vital part of a viable business workflow.

Hi
I assume this applies only to the server edition, I have 21.8.57 on standalone mac (11.5.2) and when I follow the above instructions on my test account sending email to myself , when I click the link on the email to view I get ‘email not found’ on the browser?

It is a solution only where your Manager program is continuously accessible via a public internet address. Such as

  • NG Software servers / Manager cloud
  • Private servers with continuos remote internet access configured.

Because when you send such an email from Manager you are only sending a web link to a document Manager can produce on demand, not the actual document. As a result it does not work for

  • Manager desktop
  • Manager server not continuously accessible from the internet.

I have mixed feelings on this.

I agree with Lubos that sending payslips and invoices inline with HTML support to email clients is not a desirable way to go. Unfortunately email clients can and do render emails very differently so your html email can look great in one email client and be all out of place in another email client. The unfortunate reality is that email clients do not adhere to html standards anywhere like browsers do! The html rendered coding in some of them is absolutely dreadful.

Also a lot of malware can be distributed via html and I personally discourage the use of html based emails as they are either malware or junk email.

So I agree with the idea to abandon inline support for emails.

I think the direction for you would be the customer portal which could enhanced to enable staff to view payslips etc. Unfortunately the customer portal is simply not ready for production use!

I feel the key problem is actually an issue that has been raised repeatedly - to deaf ears I might add - and that is the lack of a proper milestones and development plan, projects are started and then never finished (like the sales order status and the customer portal) and things are constantly changed without warning because there is no stable and development tracks.

In short, I agree with why he has abandoned inline email support as too many email clients render html very poorly. Second, I am in favour of moving away from a concept of sending information via email as email is too insecure and more and more email administrators like myself are simply whitelisting a small number of attachments and blocking all other attachments due to malware/virus issues. The direction that the world should be moving in is to transfer information securely by getting people to login to portals to access their payslips, invoices etc! Which is why I was so pleased about the customer portal as I feel that is the future that all companies are/should be moving in the direction of.

But I do sympathise with your plight as the result of the very poor implementation of new features which causes a lot of disruption to people who use Manager to run their business! I have long since stopped updating the live Manager regularly every month. I now update only when there is a new feature that I want to take advantage of and only after I have fully tested the latest version in my desktop test version before upgrading my live server version. So I don’t have these nasty surprises.

I cannot understand why the developer seems to be completely deaf to all requests for a development and stable track, a milestone development plan listing the expected upgrades coming out etc. It would make so much more sense to upgrade the development track and get feedback from users and when it’s working 100% then upgrade the live version. But many complaints and requests on this point have gone unheard. So regularly every few months, a surprise change is introduced causing a lot of people problems, which just creates user dis-satisfaction. The problem is so simple to address, but for some reason, it would seem that the developer would prefer to receive continuous complaints about changes implemented without warning.

I actually would like the Internal Pdf Generator button removed if it is no longer going to be supported as unsupported software is by definition a security flaw. Software needs to be updated. So it should be removed, but only after users have had time to implement a third party pdf program to replace it.

I don’t see how a pdf generator can generate a security flaw. The issue is only that asiatic text don’t render very well and @lubos don’t want to include the pdf render of Google which is very heavy to download. On my side I would like to see it as a facultative download since I often generate pdf in Manager from my mobile.

This issue is not if the email is encoded in html or any other format or how pretty it looks.
The issue is if Manager works at all for servers off the internet.

Personally

  • I have zero interest in tracking when external parties read their email.

  • I have no intention of exposing my accounting records to broad internet attack

  • I don’t wish to be forced to do my IT maintenance only when every external party will not be trying to looking at their documents.

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