Learn from my nightmare (just wanted my old customers in new biz)

I paid for manager and it is working ok. But sometimes… it’s hell. Honesty, I cant understand how is it possible to have so many problems for such simple thing.

We have 1 old business. I created a new one and I only wanted to import the customers from old one. That is all.

  1. export is not good because it doesnt t export all fields. I need billing address etc. I cant find a way to turn this column on.

  2. Batch update (“Open data in your spreadsheet program” ) is not good because it inserts the keys (like 21c66a8b-1261-4c05-8cdf-3afc6b7h3h5hc) at the end. That is not the problem, the problem is that I added a custom field to customers and batch update (when I download list) adds new line after a custom field so the key that should be in the same line falls into second line. This completely messes up export file so pasting this file to use with “batch create” creates lots of empty customers because the onlt thing in some lines is the key.

  3. Even worse, batch update export breaks customer’s multiline billing addresses to different lines so the batch create imports it wrongly anyway - parts of addressee become new customers etc. Supossedly this was fixed but link here Exported customers and suppliers don’t have address doesnt go anywhere so I am guessing it wasn’t? It doesn’t work anyway.

  4. OK. so the custom field breaks export function. I can live without that field so I guess I’ll just delete it. Nope, you cant delete it because my 300 customers already used this field. gaaah.

  5. I notice batch delete option on customers. OK, so then I’ll approach this problem different way: just clone old company and do a batch delete of over 3000 sales invoices in new one so I end up with only customers. Not so fast! No can do, you can’t batch delete all sales invoices. Why? Why cant we empty this table? Think about it - you can’t empty a table.

  6. Let’s move on. Last resort. Custom reports. I try '‘SELECT * FROM Customers’. YES! it works, all customers are there. Well, no custom fields is included but I cant live with that( probably some join statement that I cant find documentation would display it)… I click export…but wait…why are there so many lines again? Billing addresses get thrown into multiple lines again so if I batch create I get tons of empty customers again! FUUUU… bakc to square one.

As a last resort, resigned, 100% sure it wont work, I have this stupid idea…press CTRL and select all fields directly from browser. Paste it to batch create…and it works! Oh my god…It worked, praise the lord almighty! After 2 hours of this hell on earth, I finally get something as simple like old customers (without custom field but ok) in the new biz.

Bonus: http://i.imgur.com/Vh2vR6l.jpg After cloning old biz I tried to batch delete all customers. I hit the batch delete button for my customers and it only deleted those displayed on my screen. Oh well, I guess I just repeat this 10-15x times. I click the batch delete and …uhm… this is what I get… 287 still there but batch delete doesn’t offer it.

Excuse my long post but this was a nightmare. I am sure I forgot about step or two above that didnt work.

I am posting it and hopefully it can help someone, I have seen this kind of question pop up here and there. To the devs…yeah, I dont know what to say. I am sure it doesn’t happen to many people but it does happen. I’ll keep using this program but you can see that in some areas it is terribly complicated, even broken.

it basically felt like this :wink: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2gp98t

Also, I;d like to add that I have seen dev lubos really helpful here and the program is really good and we have been paying for it almost 1 year…(online version)… but here and there, it gets so frustrating. This is one of those cases. I have solved the problem, more or less, in the end but so I am posting this just to save someone else the frustration I had for the past 2 hours. :slight_smile:

Sorry to hear that you had so much trouble with exporting and importing. Maybe it will help you to know that import/export has never been a trouble free process regardless of program although email client programs by and large manage to get it right with the minimum of headaches.

Having said that, it does sound from the experiences of various people that the import process for Manager needs improvement as too many people seem to struggle with this issue.

I think what you need to do is pour yourself a nice cold foaming beer :beer:(if you drink beer that is) and unwind!

Hopefully Lubos can use your experience and your method that worked to improve the export import process and one day also also address the issue where people want to clone certain sections of the business such as the customer/supplier list and chart of accounts, but basically delete all other transactions as this is a frequently requested feature.

On the bright side. Its all over now! :grinning:

dalacor, thanks! :beer: is a good idea.

Yes, true, I am aware export and import can be problematic, in many programs due to so many different way people customize software or add custom data. In this case it should be easier, it is within the same program, company clone.

Still, I think the way to solve this in much easier way would be to allow flexibity in deleting things. You know, just add ‘empty this table’ kind of delete… in other words, ‘batch delete all sales invoices/etc’. Someone mentioned people might delete it by mistake. Agreed. Confirmation alert might not be enough , so what you can do is add a check box under report. Even more, you can make it harder: in let say settings add a subsection where it says ''allow deletion of sales invoices.". So the user would have to go specifically to settings, tick that check box and then be able to delete the entire sales invoices table. Each time we empty table the program would untick the checkbox again. No one will be able to say they did it by mistake.

So I think that having a better control over what we can delete could be easier than making import export for all the possible situations.

or… just allow what sections would be cloned when cloning a biz. I understand that this is not a priority and not many people need it all the time…so maybe in the future. But I just wanted to demonstrate what kind of bizarre problems some of us are facing to solve just a ‘simple’ task.

I agree. It is something that needs to be addressed long term as too many people want a simple ability to clone a part of the business - basically without all the transactions. But it will have to wait until my budgeting functionality comes in - I have been waiting very eagerly for the budgeting functionality as well as special accounts for inventory items.

I think the main concern Lubos has is people deleting their entire database by mistake and I agree with him. I work in IT and you cannot believe some of the stupid things that I have seen people do!

in what way would they delete their entire database? One way to solve this would be that the paying customers, or all, would get and automatic database backup. So every time someone deletes an entire table, like all customers or all invoices, the program could make a backup of entire database. So manager.io would offer an auto backup feature in a way. DBs are small, space shouldn’t be a problem, especially if it is gzip or ta. So maybe free version gets 3 backups, paying maybe 20 or smth like that.

@user7, you can never delete anything in Manager that is referenced by another entry. That is a fundamental safeguard built into the program. If you could, you could easily irreparably corrupt your accounting records. Few users, including yourself based on your comments, fully understand the interplay between all the accounts, especially the built-in control accounts.

OK, it seems like the main issue is that if you have multi-line field (e.g. BillingAddress or some custom field), it cannot be easily imported back using Batch create function. If this would work, you’d basically have the issue resolved by reaching point 2. I will need to test this myself and see if I can reproduce this issue.

As for point 1, Export button will eventually produce the same export as if you’d go to Batch update (minus Key field) so in future you wouldn’t even need to reach point 2.

So I tried to reproduce it myself and couldn’t find any issue. I exported customers from one business using Batch update button (to obtain spreadsheet with data), then imported into new entity using Batch create button. It took me less than a minute and everything was copied across (including multi-line billing addresses)

Perhaps your spreadsheet program is messing up with data at some point? I’m using “LibreOffice Calc” and worked without any issues.

hi lubos,

thank you for reply. I have tried sublimetext, notepad++ and windows excel to open the file and it looks the same in all of them. I can try that libre office. As I mentioned, the problem is 2 fold:

The first problem appears when there is a custom field value right before the key export (it is a drop down field). Here is a screenshot:

you can’t see it on the screenshot but the last 3 fields are :
ControlAccount CustomField[Representative] Key

First line has no representative so key is in same line,. Second like has representative so the key jumps into second line. This already messes up the import/batch create. Word wrap is off. No address here.

Without the custom field added or even if the custom field is there but has no value it looks ok (except the address).

Here is the second example with multi line address (I changed some info). Not every customer has address:

As you can see, first entry has rep1 so the key jumps into second line.
Second customer has multi line address so this is the first place where break occurs. Second one is again after the rep2 field.

So when I do batch update I get 5 customer entries (wrong ones, empty ones…) instead of 2. I copied this from CustomerSchema.tsv file.

That daily motion clip was an interesting diversion for the last half hour :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Trying to do that, but when I hit Batch update I take this:

Is it because all my fields where created manually and not with batch create?
Is there something else to do that I dont get to export full data of customers with Batch update?

While experimenting with the Inventory Batch Update using the latest update on a Windows 7 machine, I noticed that my exported spreadsheet was improperly formatted by showing the Key in column 2 of a separate row for most items. The only exceptions were those for which I had the Custom Field value set to “Other”.

(Extra columns removed for illustration purposes.)

So I created a test Business using the default settings and added just 3 Inventory Items. The Batch Update export file looked good as the Key was in the proper column. I next added a Custom Inventory field defined as a Drop-down list with 3 values, Purchases, Materials and Other.

("?" – the extra row highlighted by the arrow only showed up when updating an Inventory item.)

The Key was again in the proper column when I saved all 3 Inventory items as Other.

However, the Key was on a separate line whenever the item was saved as Purchases or Materials.

Hopefully, a developer can reproduce the issue using the above info.

What is this “Key?”

From the explanation given by lubos in the Guide at Using batch operations on inventory items, I’m assuming that the Key column functions like a record index.

“Do not remove or modify any content in the Key column. You can remove any rows you don’t need to update from the spreadsheet.”

OK. I missed that one in my search. I just knew Key wasn’t a parameter used to define inventory items. It looks to me like you’ve got something in your Purchases dropdown option that is being interpreted as a delimiter (two somethings, actually, since the Key moves two cells in the spreadsheet). Try re-creating that custom field using different words to see if the problem persists. That might fix your extra row problem in the dropdown, too. If things work, change it back one word at a time.

As someone with more than 2 decades of development experience, I should have suspected this earlier. The handling of an array can be tricky when working with the first and last element. I just discovered that the rows in the Batch Update export file will be formatted properly only for records containing the “last” element in the drop-down list or no reference to the drop-down at all.

To figure out why the exported spreadsheet had the Key in the second column, I tried adding more elements to the drop-down, but that had no effect.

The OP described this export behavior in item #2 of his list of issues. It would be interesting to know if he was using a custom drop-down, but he hasn’t posted since bringing it up.