This morning we applied a major update to the AcuInvoice code and are designating this the 0.3 release. We have managed to stay on track with our development calendar, but held off on this release until we were able to get all of the languages files updated appropriately. Thanks again to Charles Jean for his outstanding translation services. The 0.3 release includes a number of significant updates, most notably an improved sales tax system and support for Google Checkout and Amazon Flexible Payment Services (Amazon FPS). With the release of these features, we now have only minor updates to apply prior to the initial commercial release of AcuInvoice. We expect these updates to be completed throughout the remainder of December and into the first week or two of January. As a reminder, subscribers who sign up prior to the initial commercial release will be entitled to a subscription plan that will not be available to those who sign up after the 1.0 release. Details on 0.3 can be found below.
Perhaps the most obvious update in the 0.3 release is the integration of Google Checkout and Amazon FPS. For those who may not be familiar with these payment options, both Google and Amazon.com have recently entered the online payments market and are offering extremely competitve rates for payment processing. Google Checkout currently has the simplest of fee structures: FREE. Payments processed through Google Checkout are completely free until February 1, 2008, after which they will charge 2% plus $0.20/transaction. Additionally, if you advertise on Google AdWords, Google will credit your Checkout account for the processing fees on charges of up to 10X your monthly AdWords spend. For example, if you spend $100 with AdWords, your first $1000 of Google Checkout processing is free (a $20 savings in this example). Lastly, non-profit organizations will not be charged any processing fees for donations processed via Google Checkout until 2009.
Like Google Checkout, Amazon FPS offers advantages that are likely to accelerate its adoption. First, since every Amazon.com customer already has the ability to make payments through FPS, Amazon FPS enters the online payments market with an astounding 70 million accounts. Second, as Paul Stamatiou has very keenly noted, Amazon FPS is an ideal solution for micropayments and will be the only economical choice for businesses selling a large number of low cost items.
Improved US Sales Tax
The current release includes expanded support for sales tax, with an emphasis on US markets (for now). Subscribers can specify sales tax rates for different states and can even create different tax rates at the city level. The improved sales tax system is located in My Account–>Sales Tax. Please try out the system and let us know what we can do to make it even better.
Please Kick The Tires!
The overwhelming majority of the improvements to AcuInvoice are attributable directly to feedback from our users. We love hearing from you and strongly encourage you to contact us at support (at) acuinvoice (dot) com if you find something that doesn’t look quite right or if you have constructive criticisms of any kind whatsoever. Thanks again for your support.
The AcuInvoice Team
On Friday we released AcuInvoice 0.2. This update includes multi-language support, translations into Spanish, French, and German, several minor feature updates, and a handful of minor bug fixes. Additionally, we have finished programming our improved tax support system, though (for reasons described below) it is not included in this release. We’re considerably closer to a 1.0 release than the 0.2 nomenclature suggests and are targeting early January for the initial commercial release of our service. Additional details on this release are below.
The most significant feature of the 0.2 release is multi-language support (MLS). Though MLS has been programmed for some time, the textual content of AcuInvoice has been evolving so much that it would have been impractical to have translations performed prior to last week. MLS is quite simple; just click on the flag indicative of your language of choice and the new language file will be loaded. These icons are found in the header area of the site and application. Our server logs indicate that many of you have already discovered as much.
What Gets Translated?
The application, the static portions of the AcuInvoice marketing site, and certain application email templates. The email templates we have translated are those that are system generated, not those that are editable by an AcuInvoice user.
Item Numbering Updated
When adding items to invoices, you can now have things such as 1.50 hours. This might get tweaked a bit more in the future, but for now it should provide the additional flexibility that many of you have requested.
We have updated AcuPort to include some bug fixes, minor changes, etc. This will probably be released as a standalone PHP script, a desktop application, or both in the coming months. Prior to releasing this, however, we have more features we will be adding.
Tax Support Finished
We have finished programming our improved tax support system. A minor consequence of our new multi-language platform, however, is that it is necessary to have language translations performed in advance of new feature releases. Therefore, we need to hold off on releasing this until such time as we can have translations of these new screens performed. We’re going to bundle these translations along with a few other forthcoming feature releases (Google Checkout, etc.), thereby minimizing the amount of work required by our translators.
Two unexpected business trips rendered this blog quiet for the past several days.Despite the silence, we continue to make considerable progress and will be releasing a series of important incremental improvements over the coming weeks. Below is a tentative release schedule for these features. Please continue to email us your comments, questions, and feature requests to support (at) acuinvoice (dot) com. The amount and quality of feedback has been exceedingly helpful and we thank our users for their support and active participation in this effort.
Multi-Language Support: Week of 11/19
Translations into Spanish, French, and German have been performed and multi-language support will be released this week. While the homepage and tour page of the marketing site will be translated as well, the blog and our responses in the user forums will remain English only.
Improved Tax Support: Week of 11/19
We are actively coding an improved sales tax system that will allow you to specify the states/regions where you need to charge sales tax. This will be a useful feature for those who send large numbers of invoices and who are required to charge different rates of tax based on the presence of a local office in one state or another. We expect to launch the improved sales tax system late this week or early next week.
Partial Hours: Week of 11/19
Several people have asked us to loosen the current restriction on having only whole hours. By the end of the week you will be able to input things such as 1.4 hours as a line item on your invoices. Thanks to several people, in particular Phillip Blake, for feedback on this issue.
AcuPort 0.2: Week of 11/19
We are implementing a series of new features and bug fixes to AcuPort, the import/export scripts that allow you move data between AcuInvoice and Blinksale with just one click. Thanks to Luc Latulippe for providing a robust test case for AcuPort and for helping us uncover a few subtle issues related to this important functionality.
Various Fixes: Week of 11/19
There are a few other minor fixes that will be released this week, among them an issue related to the invoice date picker.
CSS Based Invoice Layouts: Week of 11/26
The invoice template file includes a few unnecessary tables. In the coming days, this will be revised such that
divs are used whenever possible. This will let users float most elements in the invoice and will enable more sophisticated customization of invoices. If you are currently using something other than the default CSS file, you will likely have to update your style sheet once this new template file is released.
New Invoice Designs: Week of 11/26
Concurrent with (or shortly after) the release of the revised template file, we will start releasing a series of CSS files that will allow you to apply a different look to your invoices. Thanks in advance to Ben Gray for what are certain to be beautiful invoice designs.
Google Checkout and Amazon FPS: Week of 12/3
A few users have asked about the timeframe for the release of Google Checkout and Amazon FPS support. As of today, we are anticipating support for these gateways in early December. This will bring the number of supported payment gateways to five. Please post additional payment gateway requests to the forums or email us (as most of you seem to prefer) at support (at) acuinvoice.com. We’ve already had requests for gateways including WorldPay and eWay. If you’d like to second your support for these gateways, or if you would like to nominate others for inclusion in AcuInvoice, let us know and we’ll consider putting them on the development roadmap.