Friday 15 June 2012

New features in ver. 4.2.3

It's the middle of the year and as usual I take the opportunity to update the program with upto-date price lists and fixes for any problems. But I couldn't resist adding some new features which is why the latest WPP4 is version 4.2.3 (it's on the Wessex website to download, remember to sign in).
Some of the new features are rather technical and will be detailed in future postings. So, I'll start with the most straightforward.

  • Customer statistics. In the Customer section of the database there is now a tab titled "Stats" - click this to see some information about the customer. (see below)

  • The Database Utilities have been rewritten to make them more practical. As this can get a bit complicated they will have their own posting shortly, but you can get an idea by the screenshot below.

  • In "Setup" > "Options" > "Turnaround" is now a box for "Predictive workflow". This allows you to set the maximum number of items you want to work on in a day. If that number is exceeded for a normal completion day then the following day is suggested as a completion date. This can, of course, be over-ridden. Certainly we've found that it helps to even out the work flow.
  • In the Mouldings section of the database a new view has been added - "Moulding needed". This looks through all the jobs on hand, adds up which mouldings are needed, compares the quantity with the stock and flags up what will need to be ordered -Phew!

There's a lot to digest there, but I think you'll find the new features very useful.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Wessex Professional and the Cloud

Back from the NEC and the buzz word there was "Cloud" & will the program work with it? My honest answer was "I don't know."

For those not in the know the Cloud refers to files held on a remote server which are accessed via the internet by a local computer. For instance, GMail emails are held on a remote server and are looked at by the user from whichever computer they happen to be on.

So, while Wessex Professional has always been able to use a networked database (say one computer in the shop, which talks to another in the workshop). What happens if there are 2 shops miles away from each other? You can't use wifi, you can't use a wired network, you need some way of putting the database file on a remote server and allowing the 2 (or more) computers to access it.

For a number of years now I've been using remote backup storage to protect my important files. This is done automatically and the remote server appears as a "network location" on my computer. The system I use is called "SafeSync" by Trend Micro
There are also other companies - have a look at -

I experimented with putting a test database file on the server and told the program to use it as the networked database. I found that it could be read and modified as easily as a database file on a traditional network.
There's the answer then, but it's worth bearing some things in mind - your internet connection needs to be pretty solid (if it goes down you won't be able to access your data). On the other hand the file is safer on the remote server than on your own computer (servers are much more reliable than your personal pc.).

As usual, thank you to all the people I met at the Spring Fair and in particular for your fresh ideas.