Transcraft My Accountant

Technical information

Transcraft My Accountant was written using the Java language from Sun Microsystems. The Graphical User Interface (GUI) component was developed using the Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT) from IBM. SWT is the foundation layer for the Eclipse project, which provides excellent development environment for Java, Perl, and Palm OS, namely in the Eclipse IDE. The underlying database technology is the object database technology from db4objects. Reporting technology powered by the Jasper Reports reporting engine. Please follow the above URL's to find out more about these technologies.

The application has been developed on a Windows platform, but has been recompiled and works flawlessly on Linux. Below are the screenshots for the same entry account on Linux and Windows (apologies I do not yet own an Apple machine to produce the Mac OS X version, but hopefully that will be remedied soon).

Windows:

Linux

The technology from dbobjects has dramatically shortened the development time, as mapping from domain models to persistence is now one single step instead of three. The company also provides excellent technical support, with their own developer community program and dedicated NNTP server and news groups.

I used the Visual designer for Jasper Reports from a product called IReports. Without this tool, it would have taken much longer to put together the templates for the reports. The only down side to IReports is it was written in Swing, so the look and feel is a world apart from the SWT based environment provided by Eclipse.

The source code is now available on Sourceforge, together with the binary distribution for Linux and Win32 platforms. Build and installation is pretty simple, as you can just drop the project directly into the Eclipse IDE. Please note that the I used Eclipse 3.0 to build the Win32 version, and Eclipse version 3.1 to build the Linux version, so the code should work fine with either (although you might need to tweak the build and runtime paths a bit to pick up the correct SWT Java and native libraries. Drop me a mail if you need help).

Outstanding work

I intend to implement additional features for this application. The features I have in mind are:

  • payroll support (this costs me 100 per year currently)
  • inventory control (I don't need this right now as I only do consultancy work, but if I ever open an Internet shop, this will be top of the list)
  • Ecommerce internet front end to link to inventory, with full order management
  • customisable Point of Sale terminals (so you can adapt it for your business, be it a Restaurant or a Boutique), this way you don't have to even worry about the accounting back end
  • import/export to Sage, QuickBooks, etc.
  • on line tax filing (this saves you 250 a year)
  • multi-currency support (currently the application is locale aware i.e. it will pick up your local currency/date settings etc. correctly, but you can not pay or receive amounts in another currency)
  • integration of Customer Relationship Management and Google Map
  • auto web update (for new features, new payroll tables, patches, support, registration etc.)
  • context sensitive help

As I have limited resources and free time these days, I would like to get some kind of feedback as to what the level of interest is so I can decide which features to give more priority to, or whether to implement them at all. Let me know either directly by email or using the Sourceforge forum. Also, it would be nice to get some feedback and bug reports on the existing application too. I would like to make it better, so if you could be specific about the problems you encountered, rather than just 'it does not work !'.

NOTE: although most of the things I list above are very UK centric, I have taken care to ensure the application can be configured to run in another country. You will of course have to modify the tax rates etc. for your region to make sure all the ledger postings are done correctly.

AOB (Any other Business)

Other minor tasks are:

  • complete migration to Eclipse 3.2
  • Migration to JDK 1.6
  • maybe add support for smart PDAs and phones
  • finish the Online Manual
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