Mar 21

Today: 21-Mar-2009: Invoice and printer fun

Category: today

Over the last few days I’ve been trialling some different invoicing applications as my previous tool, a spreadsheet in NeoOffice or on my Mac, became increasingly frustrating to use. The main issue was that the applications would be unresponsive for long periods of time and hang almost completely. This is rather frustrating when you’re trying to bill a client and it starts taking much longer than it should.

So I went off looking for Mac OS X solution to solve the problem as these days my desktop is more Mac than Linux. Previously Linux solutions didn’t impress me much either and I couldn’t find anything nice in the PHP realm to run as a web service which is also an attractive option to me.

So I ended up looking around MacUpdate for options and came across Invoice 3 and Billings before noticing that Billable was on discount for the day. So I decided to try to grab that as well and see what it did.

It was also much smaller than any of the other ones so it managed to get downloaded first. I went through it’s quick introduction movie and then started using it. It was a bit late so I wasn’t interested in messing around too much and then the application decided that upon rendering an invoice a weird “no pages were selected to be printed error” would continually appear. The app locked up for a while before this and whilst now I know and understand why I didn’t know then and tried my best to quit from it properly between annoying error messages that kept popping up (also taking Firefox with it unfortunately) and went to bed.

The next one on my list was Invoice 3, the most expensive one on the list and the nicest looking. It mostly worked fine until it came try to render the invoice and annoyingly came up with the same error messagenas Billable however it didn’t take out Invoice 3 and the app responded better. At this point it has happened to two applications so I went off and did some Googling on the issue. One of the results were the Apple forums which had an issue with iTunes printing. This triggered me to wonder if the network printer I have set up for my dad’s network was breaking things. So I went into the cups config and removed the printer and restarted cups. Immediately Invoice 3 became much more responsive and after a restart of the application and removing it’s preferences file I was also able to get much further. I went back to Billable and it now started to work properly not causing the errors that had previously crippled it.

The other application, Billings, annoyed me straight from the gun. It required the clients to exist in your address book before you could use th in the application. Whilst I see the potential power of this method however I don’t want to put In all of the clients in my address book and them have it replicated to my phone and other devi we that I have synchronizing with my Mac. So that one is out and now back to Invoice 3 and Billable.

Billable and Billings both requested for a copy of my logo however only Billable let me drag and drop my logo into the app. Given at this point Billings is out of the question it was nice to see the logo by default on it’s template which was quite good. By default I liked Billable invoice default template style over that of Invoice, but Invoice looks like it has a much more flexible interface for handling invoice generation. I’ll create a copy of the Billable style invoice and that should keep me happy though I do like it has a message feature for its invoices whilst Invoice 3 will permit you to add multiple PDF’s to an invoice. So I’ll have a play with Invoice 3 before the demo expires and if I’m happy with it I’ll keep using it.

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