Feature Requests


Brett | email Apr 11 2017, 04:28 PM
As a new user to landlordMax, here are a few ideas for your IIP (Idea Initiative Program).

1. Linux version
I run all my desktop office applications under Linux now. To run landlordMax, I needed to install it on a laptop running Windows 10.

2. Backup enhancement
Allow a user to configure a backup path that the application will save.
Have the application generate a default "Backup Name", ie llmax-db-YYYY-MM-DD-HHMM.ran
Now, every time I want to perform a backup, a new unique filenamae is generated.

3. Allow the application to remember the last reporting selections.
If I generate a particular report, go back into the "Accounting" screen and then back into the "Reports", I need to re-select all the fields for the report I just looked at.

4. Allow the use of printf/sprintf type formatting for the "Description" field of "Scheduled Entries".
This will allow users to place date information into the description field automatically.
ie April 2017 rent for 34 Broadway, 2nd floor

5. One of your online videos speaks to the performance of the application and provides statistics of the particular database you used for testing, ie Number of accounting entries, buildings, tenants, units, etc
Why not include a database statistics report that provides this information to the users?

6. Maybe include some type of advanced database maintenance features
Compress database (I see that takes place during a backup).
Database consistency check
Stephane Grenier | email Apr 11 2017, 09:08 PM
Hi ,

Firstly let me take a moment to thank you for all your suggestions, they are very much appreciated. To show you just how much we appreciate them I always personally take the time to address each and every single request. We obviously can't implement everything everyone suggests but at the very least we can address every suggestion.

That being said please keep in mind that you're an advance user. Most of our customers do not run linux, etc. Just the term printf and sprintf would escape the vast majority of our users, as in less than 1% would understand this. Most of our customers don't even know what an ACID compliant database is, nevermind what the advantages are that we use one, so database compression and consistency checks are not something that's even on their radar. Please keep this in mind when reading my answers below.

1. Linux version
I run all my desktop office applications under Linux now. To run landlordMax, I needed to install it on a laptop running Windows 10.

Unfortunately the demand compared to the costs, nevermind the support costs for the different distros, makes this an impossibility. It would be great but the demand is just way too low to warrant the costs.

2. Backup enhancement
Allow a user to configure a backup path that the application will save.
Have the application generate a default "Backup Name", ie llmax-db-YYYY-MM-DD-HHMM.ran
Now, every time I want to perform a backup, a new unique filenamae is generated.

This is actually already done in the Network Editions of the software, including automated backups. We don't do this in the Desktop Edition for a number of reasons. The first reason, and this is more related to automated backups, is that we can't guarantee when the software will be running like the Network Editions (which is generally 24/7) which means we can't guarantee that the computer will be available at a specific time. We also can't do it on startup and shutdown of the software for different reasons which I won't go into at this time because it's not what you ask other than to say it's due to time constraints.

As for your specific question for configuration we don't do this because during some internal testing of something similar we found that almost everyone just configured the backups to be on their local drive, which means that if the computer failed the backups were useless. Basically automating it ended up causing people to have less reliable backups. It's the opposite of what we expected. There's other reasons but this one will probably surprise you the most. By manually selecting the location it forces people to think a bit more. We still often run into the same issue where all the backups are on the main drive but it's less then it would otherwise be.


3. Allow the application to remember the last reporting selections.
If I generate a particular report, go back into the "Accounting" screen and then back into the "Reports", I need to re-select all the fields for the report I just looked at.

The software will remember the report settings until you restart it. On restart it does forget. We've looked at adding this but the main reason it hasn't yet been added is just a balance of amount requested versus cost. This particular feature has a pretty high cost considering there are over 150 different reports with many different settings. This isn't to say we won't do it, in fact I've added your request to our count for this feature, it's just that it's a feature that has a very low request count. Combined with the high cost it's been pushed for other features. To give you an example in the next major version we're, and this is still unofficial and subject to change, but we're hoping to add a templating engine where you will be able to generate the report templates using a built-in word processor with placeholders which the software will then use to generate the reports. This also has a very high cost, it's higher than saving the settings but not as much as you'd expect, but the demand for this feature is extremely high in comparison, as in more than 1000x the requests.

4. Allow the use of printf/sprintf type formatting for the "Description" field of "Scheduled Entries".
This will allow users to place date information into the description field automatically.
ie April 2017 rent for 34 Broadway, 2nd floor

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by that? Are you basically asking for the ability to dynamically set the description on the Scheduled Entries? If so then I'll be perfectly honest in saying that you're the only person who has asked for this ability. We have had requests to add the ability to customize the formatting but not a single one for the ability to dynamically generate the Description based on something like the date. That being said, and if you don't mind my asking, why do you want to include the date in the description field when it's a field all of it's own and is pretty much displayed in all the reports?

5. One of your online videos speaks to the performance of the application and provides statistics of the particular database you used for testing, ie Number of accounting entries, buildings, tenants, units, etc
Why not include a database statistics report that provides this information to the users?

I agree with you that this would be nice. The main reason again comes back to demand, we just haven't received enough requests for us to take the time is all. That being said you will be happy to hear that we have some plans (again unoffically and subject to change) to add some statistics in the next major version. We're still figuring out the details because it's not a report per say but rather account information.

6. Maybe include some type of advanced database maintenance features
Compress database (I see that takes place during a backup).
Database consistency check

You are correct that compression does take place during backup. And in fact we run a consistency check on startup as well as during backup. Basically all the database management functionality is taken care of for you. Most of our users are not technical and are not familiar with either of these terms so the software does all this for you without your knowledge.

Regards,
Stephan Grenier
Founder
LandlordMax Software Inc.
http://www.LandlordMax.com
http://www.FollowSteph.com
Brett | email Apr 12 2017, 07:37 PM
Hello Stephan,

I'd like to address some of your comments.

1. Linux
I understand the demand isn't there. Just thought I'd throw it out there and you could place it on the list of future possibilities. In today's business world, there really is no need to run a Microsoft operating system in a business environment. It's early, but things will change. If I can get a quality open source operating system for minimal cost, why be a slave to Microsoft? Maybe I'll try and test landlordMax running on Linux under Wine.


2. Backup enhancement
I'm not following your reasoning as to why this is a bad idea for the desktop edition. I'm also not saying this should be automated. What I'm saying is that on the: Import/Export -> Database Management
Should have:
Backup Path: <allow me to specify a directory path here that is saved so that I don't have to keep entering it>
Backup Name: <llmax-db-YYYY-MM-DD-HHMM.ran>, ie llmax-db-2017-0412-1636.ran
--- you generate a default backup name based on date/time. User can change it if they want

file saved to: Z:\DB-Backup\llmax-db-2017-0412-1636.ran

I can configure my backup path to point to my flashdrive or network storage and just hit the <save> button to perform a backup.
A new backup name would be generated and saved with one click. I fail to see why this is less reliable. I'd argue it's more reliable since I would be saving a new backup with a different name by default.


3. From my experience the software does not remember the report settings. I'm not referring to the settings being remembered during a restart, but during a session/running of the application. This is very simple to test:
a) Go to Accounting Screen, change some data filters around and display some data
b) Go to Reports menu
Select Section: Tenant
Select Report: Accounting entries for a tenant
Select a particular Tenant
Generate report
c) Go to Accounting Screen
d) Go back to Reports
--> The "Select Section" is 'all', where before it was 'Tenant'

It doesn't remember the "Select Section" field and the user entry choice (Tenant) if there was one.


4. Some tenants aren't very smart or sophisticated so I like to make things as plain and simple as possible for them.
Let's take rent for example:
By default the program will generate a description for a suggested account entry like this (assume everything is accepted):

Description: Rent for 28 Broadway #2nd Floor

Let's say the tenant is two months behind in the rent, he'll see an automatically generated invoice similar to this

03/01/2017.........Rent for 28 Broadway #2nd Floor.........1000
04/01/2017.........Rent for 28 Broadway #2nd Floor.........1000
Total: $2000

My unsophisticated tenant may be confused by this. Even though the date is in the first column, they just won't put it all together. Now, wouldn't this entry be crystal clear?

03/01/2017.........(March 2017) Rent for 28 Broadway #2nd Floor.........1000
04/01/2017.........(April 2017) Rent for 28 Broadway #2nd Floor.........1000
Total: $2000

Now since the invoices and receipts pull the same description, they will also have a more "readable" description.
To support this, my Scheduled Entry would now contain a description like:
(%M %Y) Rent for 28 Broadway #2nd Floor
where we have certain keywords that will be substituted when the suggested entry is generated.
%M current month
%Y current year
etc....

Please don't misinterpret my comments, they're just suggestions or ideas. From the short time I've been using landlordMAX, I've been impressed and it's certainly made managing my data easier.

Cheers
-brett






Stephane Grenier | email Apr 17 2017, 11:09 PM
Hi Brett,

Please find my responses below:

1. Linux
I understand the demand isn't there. Just thought I'd throw it out there and you could place it on the list of future possibilities. In today's business world, there really is no need to run a Microsoft operating system in a business environment. It's early, but things will change. If I can get a quality open source operating system for minimal cost, why be a slave to Microsoft? Maybe I'll try and test landlordMax running on Linux under Wine.

I completely agree with you, the OS should be irrelevant. Unfortunately the reality is that each OS has very specific requirements and needs. Just supporting Apple computers was a massive effort, and that's a standard variation of linux if you really think about it. In fact Apple accounts for close to 90% of our OS specific issues. It's been a challenge to support. This isn't to say that Windows is better by any means, I'm personally OS agnostic. All I'm saying is that from a software development support perspective Windows has actually been a lot easier to support than Apple's OS X. It's just been all kinds of random issues. Here's an example of a weird Apple specific issue we had to deal with about 4 years ago: http://www.followsteph.com/2013/06/21/printing-is-broken-on-mac-os-x-with-java-7/ Both OS'es have their issues, neither is perfect by any means. Unfortunately Linux is another system with many distros, each with their own specific issues and setups, especially desktop linux distros. With a very small user base, combined with the fact that most linux users are more technical and less likely to be real estate investors, well that means our potential user base is just not feasible at this time. This isn't to say we won't ever develop a Linux version, it's just that until the potential market size increases it's not economically feasible is all.

You may be happy to hear that as far as we know LandlordMax should be working on Wine on Linux. Although we don't officially support it my understanding is that it works as expected on Wine.

2. Backup enhancement
I'm not following your reasoning as to why this is a bad idea for the desktop edition. I'm also not saying this should be automated. What I'm saying is that on the: Import/Export -> Database Management
Should have:
Backup Path: <allow me to specify a directory path here that is saved so that I don't have to keep entering it>
Backup Name: <llmax-db-YYYY-MM-DD-HHMM.ran>, ie llmax-db-2017-0412-1636.ran
--- you generate a default backup name based on date/time. User can change it if they want

file saved to: Z:\DB-Backup\llmax-db-2017-0412-1636.ran

I can configure my backup path to point to my flashdrive or network storage and just hit the <save> button to perform a backup.
A new backup name would be generated and saved with one click. I fail to see why this is less reliable. I'd argue it's more reliable since I would be saving a new backup with a different name by default.

I completely agree with you however our beta testing data showed otherwise. I can't explain it. What we discovered is that most people just ended up saving it to their C:\ drive (for Windows users) if you automate it too much. My guess is that because it's always available so they don't have to think about it. For example if you use the Z:\ drive and it doesn't work once you just default to the old c:\ drive. I really don't know the answer, all I know is that when we beta tested it some time ago we found that automating the location caused most people to revert to their C:\ drive which meant the backups were useless because they were backed up on the same drive as the database. When we removed the automation this still happened but a lot less. For the Network Editions we found that this wasn't an issue but for the Desktop Editions it turned out a lot of people just ended up saving their backups to the C:\ drive. Again I don't understand why, it still baffles me, but we made the decision to not automate the location based on that data. In other words this was an intentional design decision based on data that contradicted what we though was common sense and intuitive logic.

3. From my experience the software does not remember the report settings. I'm not referring to the settings being remembered during a restart, but during a session/running of the application. This is very simple to test:
a) Go to Accounting Screen, change some data filters around and display some data
b) Go to Reports menu
Select Section: Tenant
Select Report: Accounting entries for a tenant
Select a particular Tenant
Generate report
c) Go to Accounting Screen
d) Go back to Reports
--> The "Select Section" is 'all', where before it was 'Tenant'

It doesn't remember the "Select Section" field and the user entry choice (Tenant) if there was one.

In that case then yes that's correct. I'm not sure why it defaults back to "All" for the Select Section therefore I'll look into that specific issue. As for the fields themselves such as tenants this is intentional because the data can change between the time when you were in the report and go back. For example in the worse case the tenant may have been deleted. But it can be more than that, the tenant's name could have been edited, and now John Smith could be Jane Doe, therefore the tenant's dropdown menu (combobox) has to be re-generated and updated each time to be correct. In other words not only may the tenant no longer be available, but the value for the menu may be changed, which means it all has to be regenerated from the database so there's no way to just remember those specific settings. The Select Section is different and I will personally look into this to get a better understanding of exactly what is happening and why it goes back to the default Section.

4. Some tenants aren't very smart or sophisticated so I like to make things as plain and simple as possible for them.
Let's take rent for example:
By default the program will generate a description for a suggested account entry like this (assume everything is accepted):

Description: Rent for 28 Broadway #2nd Floor

Let's say the tenant is two months behind in the rent, he'll see an automatically generated invoice similar to this

03/01/2017.........Rent for 28 Broadway #2nd Floor.........1000
04/01/2017.........Rent for 28 Broadway #2nd Floor.........1000
Total: $2000

My unsophisticated tenant may be confused by this. Even though the date is in the first column, they just won't put it all together. Now, wouldn't this entry be crystal clear?

03/01/2017.........(March 2017) Rent for 28 Broadway #2nd Floor.........1000
04/01/2017.........(April 2017) Rent for 28 Broadway #2nd Floor.........1000
Total: $2000

Now since the invoices and receipts pull the same description, they will also have a more "readable" description.
To support this, my Scheduled Entry would now contain a description like:
(%M %Y) Rent for 28 Broadway #2nd Floor
where we have certain keywords that will be substituted when the suggested entry is generated.
%M current month
%Y current year
etc....

We are actually working on dramatically improving the invoice and receipt generating capabilities for the next major version. Although this is unofficial and subject to change, we're working on including a built-in word processor which will allow you to create your own templates and have it filled with data from the software. Therefore if you prefered this invoice presentation you should be able to do it.

Since you're new to LandlordMax you may not be aware that we also have an email newsletter. Although I haven't been very good at writing regularly you can still read the previous newsletters directly online. The reason I mention this is because I explain this new functionality that we're working on in more detail in the last email newsletter we sent out. You can read that specific mailout directly online at: http://archive.aweber.com/llmaxnewletter/BeXC8/h/LandlordMax_Newsletter_New.htm

5. Please don't misinterpret my comments, they're just suggestions or ideas. From the short time I've been using landlordMAX, I've been impressed and it's certainly made managing my data easier.

And please don't misinterpret my responses either as being negative, we truly appreciate your feedback and suggestions!! Please continue to provide us with them, they are and will always be appreciated. Thank you.

Regards,
Stephan Grenier
Founder
LandlordMax Software Inc.
http://www.LandlordMax.com


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