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Re: New Development Snapshot Available for LedgerSMB

First, thanks for posting.  This is of course quite helpful.

On Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 4:43 AM, James McDonald
<..hidden..> wrote:

> The Add admin user interface has an Import yes / no radio button. What
> does that mean?

If the import option is clicked, it won't change the password but will
import an existing database user into being a LedgerSMB user.

> When you add an admin user there are upwards of 50 checkboxes to
> complete. Is that what is supposed to happen? What sort of UI change
> will be done to allow templated choices or roles?

Right now, the group management interface is pretty untested and I am
working on it in addons  It is possible to create groups for a
specific database manually by prefixing it with lsmb_[dbname]__
(create role .... with inherit nologin).

Basically the group management interface would automate that when complete.

Note the db name is followed by two trailing underscores.  It will
then appear as one of the checkboxes.  You can then grant roles to
that, and use that to manage groups of users.

> Adding a customer:
> There is a control code on the first screen. What is it?
> When you save the first screen it jumps to an account section. What is
> the Customer Number is that the same thing as the Control Code on the
> first screen. What do all the account fields mean?

So this needs to be better documented.  LedgerSMB 1.3 allows for
multiple customer and vendor accounts to be tracked to the same
entity.  The entity control code is the control code for that entity
(company).  The entity could have several types of accounts.  You
could have some invoices billed to one department and other invoices
billed to others.  The two departments could have different payment
terms, early payment discounts, bill to names, etc.
> Why once you have added a customer doesn't the sales invoice form become
> a drop down and allow selecting the customer or at least a javascript
> type a-head for customer auto complete. Is ledgersmb going to use AJAX
> or is it going to support text based browsers as before?

Currently it is a search form which accepts either customer/vendor
number or partial company name.  This will support text browsers.  I
would like to add optional Javascript autocompletes.
> You mention file upload is working. Where is the directory that holds
> the uploaded file? Or is it committed to the database? I asked because I
> am getting an access denied and can't discern from the apache error.log
> file where the access denied is occuring.

The database.  Note that for database errors we log the SQL state, the
full SQL error message, etc.  You can pull out all db errors by
grepping 'Logging SQL State' from your web server logs.  Also I doubt
we will expose a lot of information to the user in an Access Denied
error but we try to make it obvious to administrators what is going
on.  Feedback for improving this is welcome.
> I added a business type and then went back into a customer and found
> that the business type was now in the customer business type field
> although I hadn't selected it which would mean an incorrectly assigned
> value if I click save.

Sounds like we are not adding the blank top record. Filed bug
3386818.  Will fix shortly.

This is a user interface bug but it affects your ability to deselect
business types and would affect customers created after the business

> The javascript customer entry screen seems flaky. Clicking doesn't
> always display a populated form.

More information please:
1)  What web browser are you using (name and version)
2)  Does it have an error console?
3)  If so, when this happens are there any errors on the console?

> Adding an employee the address options are Sales, Billing, Shipping.
> Where does one define these defaults? And how do you filter them to
> display correctly depending on context?

Might be good to rename "Sales" as "Contact."  Billing can be used
here generically perhaps as where to send the paycheck as long as we
document it, if everyone is ok with that.  Maybe we could do without
the shipping address on employees?

In general, I think fewer, consistently reused text strings are better
and less confusing in the long run.

> When adding a new user/customer despite setting a default country I
> still have to select the correct country.

Ok, filed bug  3386821 to investigate further.

> I tried to do a cash receipt and I got an error "42P01:ERROR: relation
> "employee" does not exist"

Filed bug  3386822.

> LedgerSMB as a project may benefit from:
> http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0321344758/ref=cm_cd_asin_lnk/184-0022203-6180405
> All this is on a debian squeeze box.
A couple quick points on the usability side:  first LedgerSMB is an
accounting program rather than a web site.  The two have somewhat
different usability rules.  While web sites typically provide a lot
more information to the user than the user provides back to the web
site, accounting software is a lot more complex to use by its vary
nature.  I am not at all sure that trying to apply web site usability
principles to what is essentially business management software will
get us very far.  It would be quite a bit more helpful to get a
discussion going about specific workflows, what works and what

One thing we can do is provide alternate workflows.  The current
contact management interface is complex, but not needlessly so at
least for many users.  We've had many requests on this list and
elsewhere to be able to track customer and vendor accounts to the same
company, and one of the users of 1.3 in production is currently using
multiple customer accounts per company.  Maybe someone wants a contact
management workflow which doesn't support multiple shipping addresses,
or multiple customer/vendor accounts per company. We can create a
screen for entering that.  Since the API is pretty standardized, this
doesn't pose issues like it did in prior versions.

That's not to say that if there aren't specific suggestions as to what
can be done to make it easier to get started using the application we
can't discuss them and see what we can do, but accounting software by
its nature is something that requires a fair amount of complexity.

So with that in mind, do you have specific changes you think would
enhance usability without sacrificing:
1)  The ability to track multiple addresses
2)  The ability to track multiple customer.vendor accounts per company

if you think something would make the application less confusing we
can at least talk about it.  Maybe we do things your way, and maybe in
the discussion a better way comes up.  But either way the application

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers