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Archive for March, 2022

The “Booking Request” features of MIDAS, allow people to check venue availability and submit booking “request” for your rooms.

By default, all booking “requests” must then be approved by a venue’s administrator (manager) before becoming a “confirmed” booking.

Back in MIDAS v4.27, we introduced an option to allow booking requests that were received from certain email addresses/domains to be be “Auto-Approved“.

“Auto-Approved” booking requests do not require a manager’s authorization. As soon as the request is received, it it automatically approved by MIDAS – just as if the user have made a regular “confirmed” booking.

For v4.30 we’ve extended the “Auto-Approve” options for booking requests to now allow requests to alternatively be automatically approved based upon the “type” of booking request that has been made.

Auto-Approve Booking Requests Based Upon Their Type
Auto-Approve Booking Requests Based Upon Their Type

With this option enabled, booking requests that have had a matching booking type selected at time of requesting will be automatically approved.

All other booking requests will still require a venue manager’s approved as before.

So for example, you could configure this option so that all “internal” booking requests are to be automatically approved, where as all others require approval.

In MIDAS v4.30 we’ve introduced a new “Send invoices in compatibility” option.

In this post, we’ll look at why such an option was needed…

Now, back in MIDAS v4.26 we made some changes to improve the way that invoices were rendered.

This involved updating some of the HTML code that MIDAS uses to display invoices to user newer standards.

Prior to v4.26, invoices were laid out using HTML “tables”. Using tables allowed data to be set out in columns and rows. This allowed a dedicated “row” for each item on an invoice, and dedicated columns for its description, quantity, rate, etc.

Since v4.26, MIDAS has instead used a more modern CSS “grid” layout. This allowed invoices to better adapt to fit different screen widths.

However, whilst all the browsers we support also support CSS “grid” layouts, sadly not all email clients do!

To our surprise, some editions of Outlook and Gmail don’t support CSS grid layouts. Instead, they actually modify any emails they receive so that when they are displayed any CSS grid layout information is “stripped” from them!

There is really no logic to this, or indeed consistancy!

For instance, Gmail’s “desktop” webmail strips out CSS grid information, but their “mobile” webmail doesnt!

Another example if Outlook; if you view an email using the Windows Outlook client, the CSS grid information is removed. If you view the same email using the MacOS Outlook client, the CSS grid information is retained!

Other popular email clients, including Thunderbrid and Apple Mail support CSS grid layouts without issue.

You can find a current list of which email clients support (or otherwise) CSS grid layouts here.

The result is that if you view an emailed invoice from MIDAS, how that invoice is presented depends very much on the recipient’s email client.

To illustrate, take a look at the following invoice….

A MIDAS invoice emailed to a client as viewed in Thunderbird
A MIDAS invoice emailed to a client as viewed in Thunderbird
A MIDAS invoice emailed to a client as viewed in Outlook
A MIDAS invoice emailed to a client as viewed in Outlook

Above is the exact same invoice viewed by two different mail clients. The first (and correctly displayed) uses Thunderbird to view the invoice. The second views the same invoice via outlook.com.

As you can see, because outlook.com strips out any CSS grid information from the HTML email, the result is that the email doesn’t display as intended. Rather than Description, Quantity, Rate, Tax, and Amount all being in separate columns, Outlook’s removal of the important CSS grid information causes these items to be displayed on separate rows instead!

We are at a loss to explain why certain email clients decide to “strip” out and remove CSS grid layouts, especially when CSS Grid Layouts are an official W3C specification, and supported by all modern browsers.

However, to work around this issue, we’ve now introduced a “Send invoices in compatibility” option. You’ll find this setting via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Email → Advanced.

With this option enabled, MIDAS will revert to using HTML “tables”, rather than a CSS grid layout for invoices emailed through the system.

So if you have clients who aren’t able to view invoices you send them correctly, then enabling this setting should help.

We hope going forward that popular email clients – including Outlook and Gmail – will review their stance on not supporting modern layout standards – such as CSS grid. There’s really no reason not to support CSS grid. This is especially true for web-based email clients, where the client’s own browser support’s CSS grid, but the email client forcibly removes this information from emails.

Export Invoices to Zoho Invoice

Our MIDAS scheduling software allows administrators to export invoices from their booking system for use in a range of 3rd party financial applications.

We already support exporting invoices to several popular invoicing platforms, including:

For MIDAS v4.30, we’ve now added Zoho Invoice to this list.

Zoho Invoice

To export invoices to Zoho Invoice, users with sufficient permission can simply go to MIDAS Admin Options → Import / Export → Export → Invoices.

Select the “CSV File (Zoho Invoice)” option and click the “Export” button.

Export Invoices to Zoho Invoice
Export Invoices from MIDAS to Zoho Invoice

MIDAS will generate a CSV file of your invoices that you can download and then import directly into Zoho Invoice.

For more information, please see our KB article: How to exporting invoices to Zoho Invoice

For MIDAS v4.30 we’ve addressed a potential issue when it comes to adding new clients to your MIDAS booking system.

First, a little background to the issue…

The “Client / Organization” Field

The Client / Organization field allows an existing client to be selected or a new client to be created
The Client / Organization field allows an existing client to be selected or a new client to be created

On the standard “Add Booking” screen in MIDAS, a “Client / Organization” field is shown, allowing you to specify the client who you’re adding a booking for.

By typing into this field, a list of matching existing clients are shown which can be selected accordingly.

If no match is found with an existing client, then depending upon the permissions assigned to the account from which the booking is being added, the user will be able to manually type in the name of a new client/organization directly into the “Client / Organization” field.

When the booking is added, for quickness MIDAS will then automatically create a client record in the database for the newly entered client.

Of course, if the user wishes to create a new client record and provide more details other than just the client’s name and their organization, they can click the “+” button to the right of the “Client / Organization” field. They will then be able to enter extended information about the new client.

Making Client Fields “Required”

Create custom client fields and set fields to be "required" in MIDAS
Create custom client fields and set fields to be “required” in MIDAS

MIDAS also allows you to not only create and add additional custom client fields to the database, but you can also flag client fields as “Required”.

A “Required” field must have a valid entry (i.e. it can’t be left blank) in order to add/modify a client.

Now, because MIDAS allows a user to quickly create a new client directly from the “Client / Organization” field on the “Add Booking” screen, an extended client record entry dialog isn’t shown (unless the user specifically clicks the adjacent “+” icon).

This allowed clients to be added to the system with any client fields marked as “Required” to be blank.

We’ve addressed this for v4.30 with the addition of a new optional setting.

On the Manage MIDAS → Bookings screen, administrators can enable a new “Prompt for detailed client information when adding bookings for new clients” option.

Once enabled, whenever a user clicks the “Check Availability & Book” button on the Add Bookings screen, if the booking is for a brand new client, MIDAS will open the extended client details dialog. The user must complete the client record (including any required fields) before they’ll be able to add the booking(s) to the system.