Simple Invoices

I’ve been looking around for a simple invoice program. I even thought of creating one. Then, I found an open source program called Simple Invoices. I downloaded it and gave it a try. The installation was very straightforward. The process starts with downloading the program, editing the config.ini file, uploading to a server, and running the installation.

The installation gives the user the option to populate it with sample data or with no data. I chose no data. I entered myself as a biller and created several customers. I also created several product types like Labor, Hardware, Software and Miscellaneous. I would love to see more details in this area, perhaps a description field for each product type.

Once an invoice is created, it can be viewed, printed, exported in many formats like PDF, DOC or XLS. The invoice can also be sent via Email with a PDF attachment. Simple Invoices uses your host’s mail servers. The email feature doesn’t work on a localhost installation with no mail support. It worked on mine hosted at Hostgator. I imagine it will work on most host servers with mail support.

I wanted to modify the invoice number so that it will start at a certain number. This is for the continuity with my existing invoice numbering sequence. The default invoice number starts at 1. Unfortunately, there is no facility to change the invoice number except to manually edit it the database via PHPMyAdmin. The documentation about this sketchy, but I figured it out after a couple of tries. You will need to edit the cs_invoices and si_index tables and change the ids and the index_id.

Another great feature is the integration with Paypal. I’m using PayPal as a payment method and it works pretty good. The invoice can be sent via email to each customer. Simple Invoices places a Paypal button with a link to each invoice. The link redirects customers to Paypal to initiate payment. The customer can then use their Paypal account or use a credit card to send payment.

I have been unable to see any of the reporting features because I dont have the XSLT processor installed on my localhost. I’m using MAMP on the MacBook Air. I figured most hosting companies have this feature as standard, but after scouring the internet for a few minutes, I’m not so sure if Hostgator supports it. Will I ever see the reporting feature on this program? I’m not sure. I won’t know until I install it online. Update: this feature works at Hostgator!

Overall, the Simple Invoices program is great. It’s simple enough to be picked up by anyone. It has some excellent features such as exports to PDF, Word or Excel. The Paypal payment method is great. Simple Invoices needs more work in some areas, but it’s not bad start for an open-source program.

Finally, all software need some good documentation, and this one especially needs it. I’m sure the author can use a few volunteers here and there.

Hostgator SSH Access

Ok, so this is the fourth time I’ve forgotten how to access my Hostgator account via SSH. I might as well document it here, for old times sake. It’s so simple really, but I don’t know why I keep on forgetting it. To access the account, just use port 2222 instead of 22. That’s it. I don’t know why I can’t remember that. I blame it on old age.

# ssh server -p 2222

Actually, I’ve been really happy with Hostgator. No major or drawn out outages. Just a couple of hiccups here and there. They are minor things, really. I counted twice, the times the site was slow, but otherwise, Hostgator was able to fix it in a couple of hours. They only thing I miss from my old webhost is the ability to install a Subversion repository on the server. Hostgator, are you listening?

But, I got that’s running now on my desktop. It’s probably better that way. It’s more secure. It’s not like my code is highly classified or super sensitive. It’s not! But, placing it on your desktop is probably better. Until your hard drive crashes. So, keep backup copies regularly.