Friday, 6 September 2019

Wessex & Frinton moulding changes

As you have probably seen Frinton Mouldings are now being merged with Wessex Pictures.
This means that in future the mouldings that used to be listed under Frinton will now be listed under Wessex.
Only one update file will be issued (WessexMouldings.xls).

So, how can we get the program (WPP4) to sort this out?
Fortunately it is quite simple.

  • Make sure your version of the program is at least 4.4.7 (To find out which version you have click on "Help", then "About").
  • Preferably before you run the update mouldings routine you need to change the name of the supplier from "Frinton" to "Wessex". 
      Do this by going to -
  1. "Setup" > "Options" and choose the "Database" tab. 
  2. The top left frame is Database Utilities - click the "OK...." button.
  3. Take a copy of the Database "just-in-case".
  4. Go to the third frame down and select "Change Supplier Name".
  5. Select "Frinton" from the list of suppliers, and click "OK". You'll will be prompted to enter the new name (in this case it is "Wessex"). Click "OK".
  6. All the Frinton records in your database now have Wessex as the supplier.  - Job done!
  • Now you can run the update mouldings routine using the latest WessexMouldings update file. 
  • NB. If you have tried to run the update before changing the supplier name, you will find that a lot of mouldings have "failed to be added". This is because the Id (which must be unique) of those mouldings is used under the Frinton supplier name. Simply run the update again after you have changed the supplier name from Frinton to Wessex.
Now you are upto date.

Monday, 13 May 2019


Just in time for the Roadshows we've released the latest version of Wessex Professional.
The changes and new features are really down to the fantastic response from the users of the program.

Version 4.4.7, new features

  1. Error in "Guest" moulding pricing corrected. The price calculation when using the Guest moulding option did not include wastage. So, if you priced a frame with a moulding from the database and then, using the same width & cost figures, with the Guest method, you would get two different prices.
  2. Error in "Moulding needed" ("Tools">"Manage Database">"Mouldings">"Views">"Mouldings Needed"). Now shows correct amount of moulding needed for current jobs
  3. Updating mouldings from an Excel file is now more user friendly.
  • The problems mentioned in the previous post are all sorted out.
  • If a moulding has been discontinued, previously it would just be marked as such. Now, if it has not been used in any work tickets, it is deleted. If it has been used then the record is marked "Discontinued". This avoids "clutter" in the mouldings records.
  • Visually you can now see the numbers of records updated, added, deleted & discontinued as the update is taking place. 
The option to update from a supplier other than Wessex or Frinton is now a dropdown list of the existing suppliers in the database. This is to minimise errors (spelling, or calling the same supplier by two different names).
However this does mean that if you want to add mouldings from a completely new supplier you will have to create one new record manually ("Tools">"Manage Database">"Mouldings", then click "File">"New Record"). This will then add that supplier to the dropdown list.

4. Two new database utilities have been added. These can be found in "Setup">"Options" and select the database tab, click "Database Utilities" (at the top left of the tab). NB. It is wise to have made a backup of your database before making any changes.

  • You can now change the Supplier name in all of that supplier's records. this can be useful not only if the supplier has changed their name, but also if you have listed the supplier under different names, ie. R&H and Rose & Hollis, (the program treats these as different suppliers).
  • You can now zero the "moulding used" figure in the moulding records. Useful if you want see see the most used mouldings each year. (Previously this was a read only figure).
5. When "Editing" or "Adding" a moulding record you can choose from a list of existing suppliers in the database, or add a new one.

Hope you feel, as I do, that the changes make the program more productive and user-friendly - enjoy!

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Problems updating other suppliers.

A couple of framers have contacted me recently with problems trying to update mouldings from a supplier's list.
At first glance everything looked good.
The file was ".xls".
The headings were all correct.
There were no blanks in the list.
The worksheet was titled "gen"

Looking more closely I noticed that one of the files contained apostrophes in the description (why?).

While the other had the width as a decimal. (The last column in the screenshot).

Both of these things will cause the update to fail.

The solution?
For now you will need to edit the data from within Excel.
In the first instance (the apostrophes), in Excel, select the column, click on "Find & Select", then "Replace" and follow the prompts.

For the second (the Width as a decimal number), select the column, click on "Number". It will be shown as "General", change this to "Number". Then click twice on "Decrease Decimal" (see below)

The numbers will change to integers (ie. no decimal point).
Save the file, and all should be well.

The next version of the the program (look out for version 4.4.7 in the next few weeks) will handle all this automatically.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Great Idea

Often clients have ideas for new features or behaviour for the Pricing Program (pc) or the Pricing App. Sometimes I've already tried the idea and found that it is not feasible. Other times it's a good idea but would take a lot of time to implement, or it would be too complex.
But sometimes there is an idea that is a "lightbulb" moment and is quite straightforward to code.

One such was a framer who was taking a screenshot each time he issued a price (very easy to do with Android), but he noticed that the pop-up message with the price was covering the moulding box (see below).

He asked could the pop-up be moved so the Moulding ID could be seen?
The immediate answer was "No", but thinking around the problem I realised that all I needed to do was to add the Moulding ID to the message (as below).

So, App version 2.1.2 was born.
A screenshot is a very simple way of recording a price, and has a title such as -
This gives you the exact date and time the price was issued.
You can see the size, the price and the moulding (you'd still need to note the mount colour, glass type and so on). Perhaps you could get that info. by taking a photo of the work with the samples in place.

Who needs databases?!

Friday, 9 November 2018

version 4.4.6

Wessex Pricing Program version 4.4.6 - so what's new?

Basic and Full versions
Well, the first thing corrects an anomaly where if you changed the default moulding markup only the mouldings added subsequently to the database used that new default. You would have to change the existing records individually if you wanted them to use the new markup. Not user friendly!
In the new version any moulding which has the old default as its markup will be automatically updated to the new default.

Full version
The database has room for 50 characters (inc. spaces) in the mount record (made up of the mount type and the colour(s)). It was possible to get all the way to the point where you saved the invoice only to find an error because in one job you had tried to use more than 50 characters in the mount record.
Now, if you try to use more than 50 characters you are warned when you try to add the job to the invoice.

Full version
The other noteworthy change in this version had me thinking "Why didn't I think of that before?"!
The workticket has two dates - the date the work was received and the date that the job needs to be completed by.
Now, when the work is collected and you edit the workticket to tick the "collected" box, the complete-by date is changed to that day's date, thus giving you a record of when the work was taken by the customer.

You can view collection records by going to "Tools" > "Manage Database" > "WorkTickets" and then click "Find Record". Initially "Find Records by" and "invoice number" is shown. Click the downward pointing arrow and choose "Collection Date". Then you'll be able to pick a date to see the jobs collected on that day.
The program knows when you installed the update, so only worktickets after this date are changed. (ie. worktickets before that date will still read "Collect on" and the original completion date. Only records after that date will have the actual collection date.)

Monday, 27 August 2018

Do it NOW!

All computers will, at some point, fail.
They won't start, they won't recognize the hard drive, they get infected with a virus to name just three scenarios. Often it's simply age - the components start to fail.
Think of your computer like your car, there comes a time when it's not worthwhile trying to keep the car going and it's time to get a new one. Of course you knew this and planned for it, so the change over is reasonably smooth.
It always surprises me how many people do not plan for their computers failing and leave their data at risk.

The Wessex Pricing Program has been around long enough for a number of computers that it is installed on to have failed. So, what happens?
In an ideal world you download the program from the Wessex website onto your new computer, get a new enabling code from Wessex Bournemouth branch, and import the 2 data files that you've backed up from your old system. About 10 minutes including the phone call.

The real problem comes when those 2 data files ("V3.mdb" & "user.xml") have not been backed up.
Is it possible to rescue the situation?
If you can access the old hard drive then you will find the 2 files in C:/ProgramData/WessexPictures/wpp4.
Copy them onto a usb stick and import them into your new set up.
If you can't get into the old hard drive then you are faced with starting all over again with a fresh database and trying to remember all the labels and their associated values you had - not good.

So how do you plan for your computer failing?
Simply by making sure there is a copy of your data somewhere other than on the computer.
One way of doing this is to keep a portable hard drive plugged into your computer and schedule a backup frequently.
Another way is to use cloud storage such as Dropbox, Onedrive or Google Drive.

So far as the Pricing Program is concerned I have tried to make it as simple as possible to create copies (backups) those all important two files, "V3.mdb" which contains the database of your mouldings, customers and worktickets, and "user.xml " which contains your labels and the values that go with them.
Ideally you will set an automatic backup, so everytime the program is shut down the two files are copied to your backup location (I have a usb stick always plugged in).
To set this go to "Setup" > "Options" and choose the "Netwk/BkUp" tab. Tick "Use automatic backup" and then set where you want to backup to.

Alternatively you can manually copy the two files. ("File" > "Export Database", and "Setup" > "Values" and click the "Export" button).

But whichever way you do it - DO IT NOW!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Updates, updates

You may have noticed that the App has had some more updates quickly following on the main update (to version 2.0.0) issued last month.
So what's going on?
The first 2 updates (2.0.1 & 2.0.2) fixed a mistake in the App where, if an Extra Cost was entered in the Sundries list, it wasn't read properly and returned zero. The first update fixed it for most of us, but then I realised that if the currency symbol was placed at the end of the amount (ie 34.56€) the figure still would return zero. This led to the second update which fixed this.
I also took the opportunity to make it easier to see which dimension box you were about to enter data (rebate size). The hint in that box (Cm or Inches) changes colour when it is ready for you to enter the size.
That was all thanks to discussions with users at the Art & Framing Roadshows.

The last (for a while, I hope) update (2.0.3) makes it easier to update the Mouldings.csv file.
The problem was that if a new "Mouldings.csv" file was copied to the Download folder (or any other folder) and there was an earlier version(s) of the file already there, then the new file would be labelled "Mouldings(1).csv", or "Mouldings(2).csv" and so on.
As the App was programmed to only look for "Mouldings.csv" it was quite easy to use an old file by mistake to update the App. The answer was to delete the old file(s) first, then download the newest file. (A bit of a faff).
So, what's changed?
Now, when the App looks for the update file it will show you all the csv files in that folder.
Also, the title of the file can now be whatever you like ("wessex_arq.csv" for instance).

Simply select (tap) the file you want to use, and then tap "OK".
This should make updating the moulding data much easier.

An extra piece of info - In the latest versions of Android (version 5 onwards) the SD card is not shown when looking through folders (a "security" feature, thanks Android). So make sure you always copy (download) the file into the "Download" folder.