Themes moved under "Obsolete Features"

Yes that what I have done in Themes My logo goes right across the header in the back ground.

I believe most of the users are against this change. I hope that @lubos will reconsider this.
Right now, any new design feature added to the program (Footers being an example here) is useless for those who use custom themes so it’s only normal to fear missing out on other features that might come in the future.

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@lubos Are you able to provide some background as to why you are moving away from themes?
Plenty of users are outlining what read to me like decent use cases for themes, and I’m interested in understanding why themes need to be obsoleted.

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I think what Lubos is wanting to do is build into the program all the functionality to customise your invoices etc without having to use themes (and understanding liquid programming). He has already added footers for example and I expect he will add more functionality to the program to allow users to click or select options such as moving logo to RHS or LHS etc.

So it’s not the ability to customise your invoices that is being removed, what is chaning is how Manager will enable users to customise their invoices. Currently you have to have feel comfortable playing around with editing the liquid programming.

I support Lubos in what he is doing for two reasons.

If Manager can have built in functionality like header, footer, grid lines, no grid lines, text size, font and colour and more WYSIWYG capability without having to edit a file (which is what the themes are), that makes it easy for all users. Not everyone is sufficiently good on a computer to want to mess around with the programming you see in themes. I don’t see it as Lubos getting rid of the theme functionality, rather making it easier for users to theme their invoices using built in settings like footer etc.

Another major reason to get rid of themes is that as the program evolves and more columns appear and more content appears on the invoices etc, then your themes made 5 years ago do not have the built in functionality to take into account these new changes to the program. This I suspect is his biggest reason for wanting to move away from themes. Again I agree with this. I think themes are blocking the ability to add new functionality.

I think he should have made this more clear as it is obvious that a lot of people think that they are going to be losing the ability to customise their invoices. I don’t believe that this is the case.

I actually think it is not that generous. He layed out his ambition to make Manager a maintenance free product that will no longer need further development. As such all the more complex features are being dumbed down or removed. This does not mean that Manager would not be useful, it is maybe the right direction to go to avoid so many changes all the time and so many questions about how to tailor things.

I just wait what is going to result.

The first implementation of custom themes was actually using javascript instead of liquid markup. I’ve moved away from javascript to liquid markup so it works with “internal PDF generator” which could only take plain HTML as input.

And “Internal PDF generator” existed because web-browsers were not good enough at printing HTML content properly.

After some years the landscape has changed. Web-browsers got so much better to the point that Print button was more and more viable. So I’m simply observing where the technology is heading, internal PDF generator which was causing me a lot of headaches has been made obsolete and the only reason why custom themes are using liquid markup is therefore no longer justified.

Customization of invoices will be through javascript which is easier to understand and debug than liquid markup. I mean anybody who knows how to make websites will be able to customize the look of invoices (or other documents) without knowing anything about Manager. That means there will be more talent available for businesses to choose from to implement customizations.

I’m not yet there. This is multi-step process to get there but once I get there, all users will naturally prefer javascript over liquid markup for their customization needs. Liquid markup is unfortunately all or nothing proposition - you have to have the entire invoice rewritten even for the tiniest customizations. Javascript allows progressive enhancement.

Also, sometime next month there will be improvements to footers which will kind of make it more obvious where I’m heading with this.

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The one thing that approach misses is the ability to actually email a payslip or invoice. It seams we will be left with the ability to only email a link making the desktop version no longer functional and forcing the server version to be exposed to the security risk of internet exposure.

If actually emailing documents was supported then this would be a step forward, without it, it is a massive step backwards.

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@Patch the current implementation of emailing links out of desktop edition is basically broken at the moment. I agree with you on that. I’m planning to fix this so by default, recipient will receive an actual document within email body instead of link.

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Thanks that is extremely important as the current solution is not sustainable. I recall recommending you to simplify the approach so that the internal email function can be utilised with attachments. I am glad to see that you realise that this is an essential feature of any accounting package if to be useful. We use the now “obsolete” internal PDF generator a lot for reports and invoices and thus for us it is not obsolete but functional.

@lubos using JS for customisation sounds great, I’ll watch this space with interest. Thanks for the explanation.

Yes I agree with you on both your points

I re-read your post and putting all content only in an email body and not as attachment will cause many spam-filters to block these emails. Also for those businesses that have a policy of not allowing HTML but only plain text email exchanges this may prevent such as well. More importantly invoices and receipts need to be stored as files in folders and not saved as emails. You explained before that you do not find an affordable internal PDF generator but I do not see how Manager could function properly without one.

The most useful implementation be it for non accounting application but with similar needs for themes and PDF generation I have come across uses kind of mail-merge function where the user develops a template in Word and includes short-codes for all content including tables. This template is then uploaded and converted by the application to HTML5 and allows for CSS for theming. Any document can then be emailed or downloaded as PDF by the application.

For me a single button press in Manager which emails a payslip or invoice (not a link) is very valuable.

Formatting is not really that important to me, I just want the function.

Spam filtering is a problem with all emails but that can me minimised by informing the recipient to look in their spam folder and add your email to their contacts.

Having a pdtf attachment is ideal but if the alternative is complete loss of functionality then I’m happy with inline html.

Why, if you had plans to go away from current Themes implementation to new one, you don’t first do that. Now we are left with 2 possibilities. First to use all new program features and updates, but with no customization at all, and Second to stay with old versions, all use legacy features (until they disappear) and have our styled documents. Very weird choice of workflow and development cycle.

But I’m doing that…

How? Is new JS based theming solution ready? Can I use all new features and still have our customized documents look like before?

Speaking as someone who maintains a mail server and has seen how much malware is spread via html, javascript and macro documents, I will always push for pdf attachments and for people to disable javascript in their pdf viewer program. HTML is a terrible format to use to send invoices as I can guarantee you will have so many problems with email deliverability. Now that Microsoft have permanently disabled macros in office documents by default, malware hackers are turning to html in droves to push their malware.

Pdf’s really is the best way to ensure 100% email deliverability as it is so easy to protect against malware in pdf’s by disabling ability to click on links in pdfs and disabling javascript within pdf’s.

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@MarV - from post 1

My understanding is that custom themes will only be removed from Manager after the new solution is in place.

Obviously, it does discourage one from making too much use of the custom themes, but hopefully the new implementation will be straight-forward enough to use to easily convert existing custom themes.

Yes they work, as legacy/obsolete feature. None of new things and features work on themes.

Although I don’t agree that Liquid is harder than JS since it’d probably take one day for those with any coding skills. But I can now see why Liquid is being replaced since debugging using the browser tools is easier than no debugging for liquid and finding a JS developer is much easier than a Liquid developer.

It would be great if the user could save their script without leaving the edit screen for JS coding.

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