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  • Some suggestions please

    My wife is wanting to email invoices to her clients as attachment. I want to write a PowerBasic Windows program to allow her to simply fill in the invoice details. The program would then create the invoice with horizontal and vertical lines making up a table. The created file format must allow her client to display and print the invoice without any requirements of software beyond standard Windows issue. I also want the file size to be as small as possible, which rules out scanned documents.

    I have been considering two possiblities...

    1. Create an HTML file which could be displayed and printed by her clients from their IE browser.

    2. Create a text file or a rich text file. I know that MSDOS had extended ascii characters which could be displayed and printed from text files, but I'm not sure about Windows. Rich text might get kind of messy.

    I would very much like to hear your suggestions... Thanks

  • #2
    As an attachment? Hmmm.... She may want to consider her options.

    Most e-mail filters would probably reject them unless her customers specifically allow her particular invoices to pass. That might take a couple or three months to achieve.
    There are no atheists in a fox hole or the morning of a math test.
    If my flag offends you, I'll help you pack.


    • #3

      I understand the desire to 'roll your own', but honestly, you'd be far better off using Quickbooks. The cost is fully deductible, and you'll get better reports that the IRS WILL accept. EMail invoices from Quickbooks? Couldn't be easier.
      Software makes Hardware Happen


      • #4
        I currently create invoices in PDF form which are emailed to my client's customers.

        Obviously the customers have to have Acrobat Reader installed, but using PDF the invoices look real nice, with color logos and stuff.

        (But it is a LOT of work!)
        Michael Mattias
        Tal Systems (retired)
        Port Washington WI USA
        [email protected]


        • #5
          If a manual step in the process is acceptable, then a third-party Print to PDF program might do it.

          The one I use pops up a file finder dialog to select the directory and filename of the PDF to create from the current print job. (But then it was only $9.99 at Staples and it creates image based PDFs not text based.)

          Maybe a fancier one would have an actual API of some kind and it could be done programmatically. Have not looked into this. I'd be most disappointed if the full version of Acrobat couldn't do this, but I'm not suggesting you should have to spend $500 either.
          The boy just ain't right.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Charles Dietz View Post
            I would very much like to hear your suggestions... Thanks
            Charles, Would it be possible to design a form your wife could fill in? Then send the results to a printer file (.prn) using the Graphic Print stuff to format the output. Then her clients just print the .prn file?

            Just a thought.

            "Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop.
            Die knowing something.
            You are not here long."
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            It's a pretty day. I hope you enjoy it.


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            • #7

              what you need is a PDF library to build PDF files out of your program.
              I use one an my webserver, but it is for Xbase++ not for PowerBasic.

              I red about a new produkt in the 3rd Party forum here, they will offer a 99$ DLL to create print etc. PDFs.

              Here in germany it is not allowed to use a HTML file and print it as a incomming bill if you have a buisiness. Our tax agency (don't know a better word) will accept printed PDFs, as long as the can't see a difference

              ***> see this thread:

              User to user discussions of third-party addons and user-recommended links to related web sites. Advertisements are permitted only in this forum, for products designed to work with and enhance PowerBASIC compilers.
              Last edited by Hubert Brandel; 27 Jan 2009, 08:44 AM. Reason: added the URL



              • #8
                you might consider an html attachment using a <table> and <PRE> to make the text fixed width. Easy to write html from PB.
                Client Writeup for the CPA


                Links Page


                • #9
                  you'd be far better off using Quickbooks. The cost is fully deductible, and you'll get better reports that the IRS WILL accept. EMail invoices from Quickbooks? Couldn't be easier.
                  SHAME ON YOU!!!!! Joe, QB could not be more evil than the AntiChrist itself!!!!

                  (Ok, one user use may not be as bad, but) at work they decided on QB and WHAT A PAINNNNNN my backside.....I do not use it, did not want it, and yet somehow its my problem when something happens.

                  I then have to scour the QB forums, and call their suppt, just to hear "We will look into it" and all leads show they have been "Looking into it" for years.....(without even a post of "We do not know, and can not help....just dont do it till we know what the problem is????)

                  Charles....I would stick with what you know and parse as straight text, and then the fancier stuff (add logo's etc, to make it "Pretty") come after.

                  Html could be good (XML may be better), or some interface to PDF all seem safter to me cause you control the code and you understand what is going on, and you can fix what is wrong cause you have the code to look at.

                  But hey, its just me spouting off....take it for its own grain of sand
                  Engineer's Motto: If it aint broke take it apart and fix it

                  "If at 1st you don't succeed... call it version 1.0"

                  "Half of Programming is coding"....."The other 90% is DEBUGGING"

                  "Document my code????" .... "WHYYY??? do you think they call it CODE? "


                  • #10
                    Thank you all for your suggestions. I'm leaning toward an html document with perhaps a conversion to pdf as the file to email. Again, thanks for your thoughts... they have been useful.


                    • #11
                      SHAME ON YOU!!!!! Joe, QB could not be more evil than the AntiChrist itself!!!!
                      Hummm... yea, I guess having killed all the competition off and being one of the top 10 longest living programs in history...... its probably crap

                      I've actually used Quickbooks for years. Operated 3 of my own businesses with it, survived 2 IRS audits and a state tax audit by simply sending them some Quickbooks reports, and installed it numerous times for lots of customers. There have been a couple of calls to support (under 5 in 10 years, not too bad) and never once did I not get an answer, and only once was it a true flaw in the software.

                      Say what you want, but the people at Intuit do understand their software and have set standards on ease of use without sacrificing power and features.
                      Software makes Hardware Happen


                      • #12
                        Joe, QuickBooks may be popular but ALL CPAs I deal with think it's Crap and hate it. They have to deal with it because it's so popular but if it was not for it's popularity among their clients they would not use it at all.
                        Client Writeup for the CPA


                        Links Page


                        • #13
                          CutePDF is free, just design your invoice and print it using standard PB commands having set the printer to be CutePDF Writer which will produce the PDF file you can attach to an email.


                          • #14
                            Great suggestion, John. I'm implementing it right now, and it looks like it'll work just fine. Thanks.