Themes moved under "Obsolete Features"

I have been using themes to print 80mm thermal with a POS printer
What will happen to that in case it becomes obsolete.
Will there be a solution provided

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For me as a photographer visual branding is one of the most important parts of my business. I want my Invoices and Receipts to match my website, preprinted documents and other marketing materials as close as possible so my clients know at first glance who it is from. It’s all about all pieces coming together to make brand memorable.

I have also fixed some Manager’s shortcomings such as no currency symbol on line items and lack of repeated headings on documents taking more than one A4 page when printed among other modifications.

I would be really sad to see custom themes gone without other solution with similar capabilities in its place.

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@lubos I have been using themes for printing checks either directly from a purchase invoice or through the payments tab. Hopefully you will consider an alternative if you decide to take themes away permanently.

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It primarily comes down to branding and having a unique invoice that is visually distinct from others.

Also the display of dynamic content, like a QR code.

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The main reason I have been using custom themes is so I can display customer custom field data pulled from customer info in their invoices, I can have several custom fields for a particular customer and when creating an invoice, I just select the custom field drop-down then select the relevant custom field data I wish to be displayed.

I display custom fields where I want on the invoice, some before the table and some after.

I have also been using custom themes to slightly reduce and increase font size and padding which suits my eye better, and fit more info onto one page.

I hope your revisions will allow this to continue.

We use themes to print our invoice in triplicate copies: one for customer, one for our records and one for tax filing.
Apart from that we also receive donations which we print in triplicate with the one counterfoil having a declaration by the donor followed by a footer with instruction on submission of the duly signed copy at the registered office. The last counterfoil copy has to submitted between 6 months to one year again duly signed at the registered office as required by the law. This copy too has another declaration confirming the willing donation earlier.
We also embed a unique QR code in the receipt for donors to verify their donation by scanning the code and viewing the particulars of their donations
Apart from the above we use themes for modifying the expense claim and cash receipts which need to be printed with the placeholders for signature of the receiver and the approver. Which again is a legal requirement.

I hope your revisions would not leave us hunting for another solution after spending nearly a year to choose manager as the most appropriate accounting package for our needs. The last three years have been a great experience with manager with themes being the one of the most outstanding feature of the package.

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@Lubos I have nothing to add that hasn’t been mentioned by others before except to say that when/should THEMES go…so does my subscription. Thanks.

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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.