Sage Line 50 2012
We have been using the Beta copy of the software and also attended the Sage dEvent that provided an overview of what’s new and changed in the 2012 version.
Although Sage haven’t changed the underlying file system they have made changes to how Sage caches data and tried to improve the locking mechanisms so that some operations will no longer lock out all the other users.
Our initial speed tests show no overall difference (possibly a bit slower) on straight speed but the record locking and caching may make day-to-day operations less prone to other users being locked out and support higher levels of concurrency.
The cosmetic screen appearance has been updated to make it more contemporary and various processes modified to give the user more feedback that Sage is actually doing something (rather than having them reboot the machine because nothing is apparently happening and thus corrupting data).
Data can now also be “locked” so that transactions can’t be posted to a previous period which should keep the accountants happy. This is set via User Rights although the default is to allow it which seems a bit perverse.
The Help -> About screen now provides far more diagnostic information and they also seem to have sneaked in a remote control option for Sage Support technicians.
Internally there are changes to the way the SDK works in some areas so developers will need to make code changes in various areas including Net Value Discounts (which was absurdly difficult to do previously), Customer Discounts and Invoice Auto Numbering.
The Transaction Post has also been updated to perform more checks on the data such as making sure the specified nominal code is correct for the type of transaction (not a Bank Account if posting an SI for example).
Installation has been streamlined and made more straightforward for network configuration.
There are various UI enhancements including new Quick Search Options and a Quick Print button.
Data checking has been speeded up and offers more selective repair options than the previous blanket “Fix” button.
The existing SData Service will be available to developers in Beta format. Essentially it is a web interface which sits on top of the SDO to enable low volume web based interrogation and update of Sage data. (You would for example only perform an action on a single account rather than a bulk process)
Overall it’s the same (very) old file system that they have tried to wring a bit more performance out of it by doing things that they should have done years ago but now seem to be taking a bit more seriously. I guess the cash cow needed a bit of feeding.
Let’s hope there isn’t the usual “oops” moment in the first live release. As usual wait and see before upgrading.
Developers Program Changes
Sage are also planning to introduce a Certification program for third party applications.
This will be an annual test priced at around £600 per product.
We certainly won’t be pursuing this option as it would push our Sage fees up to well over £5000 per year. We’re confident in our products and the level of support we provide without entering into essentially what is an expensive box ticking Certification exercise.
Incidentally Sage say they have around 600 Sage 50 registered developers which on current fees I would calculate is generating them around 1 million pounds a year in revenue and must be very profitable already.
Emailing Sage documents
This is something I have never really looked into but a client wanted to do this and so necessitated a bit of investigation.
Short story is that it is possible and very simple to use but a bit less than obvious to set up and of course different depending on the version of Sage you have.
Essentially you need to use the Report Designer to set up the Email Settings which will create a default Email configuration for all reports set to send via Email.
If you are using Outlook choose MAPI otherwise choose SMTP and enter your ISP Mail Server details. There is also an Outlook option that is apparently only relevant for Outlook 2010 on a 64 bit system.
Then for individual reports you set up the email options (such as setting the email address to be picked up from the Sales Account Email field and Subject text etc)
Once set up you can just select the Invoices in the Invoicing Module and click on the Email button (in Sage versions prior to 2011 it is a bit more long winded)
There is a Sage Knowledge Base article 12659 that provides some information. The independent Sage Forum also has a succinct How to on setting up Invoices to Email.
On Windows 7/Sage 2012 at least the SMTP mail configuration appears to be stored in ProgramData\Sage\SMTP\SMTPConfiguration.xml and includes the username and password in clear text, which might not be the most secure way to do things.