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Posts Tagged: v4

Invoicing Improvements in MIDAS v4

As we’ve previously mentioned, in MIDAS v4 you’ll be able to do more directly from the booking grid. One such new improvement will allow you to…

Generate Invoices Directly from the Booking Grid!

Prior to v4, if you wanted MIDAS to generate an invoice for a booking, this had to be generated at time of booking. In v4, whilst that option still remains, you’ll also find a new icon when selecting a booking in the grid, which will allow you to instantly generate an invoice for that booking (provided one hasn’t been previously generated)

Generate Invoices

We’ve also further improved the invoicing capabilities for MIDAS v4, as it will allow you to…

Retrospectively Generate Invoices for Clients

Retrospective Invoicing


In v4, you can select a client, and a date range, and MIDAS will generate a single invoice incorporating all that client’s bookings over the selected date range! …and what’s more, MIDAS will ignore any bookings for which invoices have already been created, meaning that you’ll never invoice for the same booking twice! You can also select the “All Clients” option, and MIDAS will generate a separate invoice for each client with bookings across the date range you select.

This feature will be ideal if you have one person adding bookings, and another looking after the invoicing side, as it will allow them to, for example, generate an invoice for a client one month at a time in arrears!

We’ve also added a couple of new invoicing settings:

Invoice Settings

“Include zero value invoice items?” – If selected, venues and resources for which there is no charge will still be included on invoices for completeness and/or if you need to denote that the client is getting something free of charge. If this option is not selected, items who’s total charge is zero will not appear on generated invoices.

“Create invoices even if invoice total is zero?” – If unselected, MIDAS will only generate invoices where the invoice total is greater than zero. If selected, MIDAS will generate invoices regardless of invoice total.

Last week, we posted about ensuring your server is ready for MIDAS v4. In doing so, we unveiled that this major update would utilize a new database system… but why this change?

MIDAS Database Evolution
MIDAS Database Evolution

First came CSV…

When development first started way back in 2005, MIDAS stored data in a series of “flat file” databases. These were essentially character-delimited data files (similar to the popular CSV (comma separated value) file format). As MIDAS developed and grew over the next couple years, this format for storing data become more and more restrictive to what we wanted to do with MIDAS. Consequently, an improved method for storing data was needed.

…followed by XML

A new database format was first introduced with MIDAS v3, in 2010, when we moved the data storage over to an XML based format. This offered a number of improvements, allowed for customizations, and was more “robust” than the previous “flat file” format

However, this XML based format does have some drawbacks. As the storage was still essentially file and disk based, the performance of MIDAS was dependent on the number and size of XML files MIDAS had to read from, process, and write to disk. Now, for the majority of our customers, this has never been an issue. However, for a very small number of customers – those with a very high number of venues/bookings/users, etc, – the file/disk based nature of the XML storage format, could impact on the speed and performance of MIDAS.

…and so that’s the primary reason why starting with MIDAS v4, we’ve moved over to a faster, and “industry-standard”, database format – MySQL.

Introducing MySQL

“If MySQL is so good, why hasn’t this been implemented sooner?”
Well, when MIDAS was originally created over 7 years ago, MySQL was in its infancy! At that time, few servers ran MySQL by default, and there were very few web applications around that used it. In those days, if you wanted to add MySQL support to your website hosting account, it would likely be an expensive “add on”.
For this reason, we initially took the decision not to rely on MySQL, as we wanted to make MIDAS as widely accessible as possible. This is why, for the last 7 years, you’ve only needed a web server running Perl to host MIDAS.

However, the Internet has come a long way in the last 7 years! These days, MySQL is common place. The vast majority of web servers/web hosting packages now have MySQL available and ready to use “out of the box”, and a very large number of websites and popular website software use MySQL databases.

When MIDAS v4 becomes available this Summer, if you wish to install/run this new version of our scheduling software on your own web server, MySQL 5.1 (or later) must be available. So check your server now, so you don’t miss out!

Is your server ready for MIDAS v4?

MySQLThis Summer we have a major update coming to our web based room scheduling software. Starting with version 4, MIDAS will use a MySQL database for storage. Earlier releases of MIDAS have used different database architectures (which we look at in more depth in this blog post) and as such MySQL has not previously been a System Requirement for a server running MIDAS.

If you wish to run MIDAS v4 on your own web server, MySQL 5.1 (or later) is required.

MySQL, the world’s most popular open-source database, can be freely obtained from www.mysql.com

In addition, two Perl modules not previously required for MIDAS will be required for v4. These modules, “DBI” and “DBD::mysql”, may already be present in your Perl installation, but if they’re not, they may be freely obtained from the following links:

  • DBI – Database independent interface for Perl (Get it here)
  • DBD::MySQL – A MySQL driver for the Perl5 Database Interface (Get it here)

If you’re unsure whether these Perl modules are already available on your server, our updated Server Readiness Tool will tell you!

Once your server is ready, our How do I update from MIDAS v3 to v4? guide will help you update your MIDAS installation.

If you’re currently running MIDAS v3 on your own server and are unable to use MySQL, you can carry on using version 3, (however this will continue to receive critical fixes only), or alternatively have your MIDAS v4 “remotely hosted” at https://mid.as/your_organization instead

If we already “Remotely Host” MIDAS for you, you don’t need to do anything to be ready for MIDAS v4! – Our servers are already prepared for MIDAS v4!

MIDAS v4: A Fresh New Look

If you’ve been following our recent blog posts, you’ll know we have an exciting update coming to MIDAS! You may also have noticed from early screenshots we’ve already posted from this update that the default visual “theme” has also gone through some changes…..

The previous “Default” theme: (MIDAS v3)

MIDAS v3 Default Theme

The new “Default” theme: (MIDAS v4)

MIDAS v4 Default Theme

The new “Metro” inspired default theme that will ship with MIDAS v4 will feature slightly larger icons than previous themes – the reasons behind this are two-fold;

1) Larger Screen Resolutions

Firstly, screen resolutions are generally getting larger – for many years the most common screen resolution was 1024 x 768 pixels. A recent study found that currently the most common screen resolution in use is 1366 x 768. As people choose screens with higher and higher resolutions, graphical items appear comparatively “smaller” on screen.

2) Touch Screens

Secondly, touch screen devices (such as tablets and iPads) are now common place, and with the eagerly anticipated release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system later this year (which is very much geared towards touch screen devices), we expect the number of touch-enabled devices to increase dramatically.
If you’re familiar with touch screen devices, you’ll know it can sometimes be frustrating trying to accurately “tap” a very small target area on screen.
Microsoft have conducted extensive research on fingers and touch screens. They discovered that the average width of a human finger is 11mm. As targets for tapping get larger, the percentage of accidental missed taps drops off quickly. Therefore, ideally, a tap target should be at least 11mm (about 40px) in size.

MIDAS v3 IconMIDAS v4 Icon
“Add Bookings” icon (MIDAS v3)
30 x 30 pixels
“Add Bookings” icon (MIDAS v4)
40 x 40 pixels

In the previous “default” theme for MIDAS, the main toolbar icons were 30 x 30 pixels in size. In the new “default” theme, toolbar icons are now 40 x 40 pixels in size.

Notifications have also been made more prominent on toolbar icons for MIDAS v4:

MIDAS v4 Toolbar Notifications
MIDAS v3 ButtonsMIDAS v4 Buttons
Buttons in MIDAS v3Buttons in MIDAS v4

We’ve also increased the size of other buttons and some text elements – all in an effort to make MIDAS more accessible to tablet, iPad, and other touch screen users, and those using higher resolution screens!

We hope you’ll like the new look for MIDAS v4, but if you don’t, no problem! – There will be a version of the previous MIDAS v3 default theme available for v4 as well!