Tip #251 – Making Sure No Errors Have Occurred

Tip #251
Making Sure No Errors Have Occurred

Being a database application, flowerSoft has to deal with keeping a lot of indexes up to date. These indexes allow you to access information quickly when you need to look for and order or customers.
Indexes change constantly, especially during busy periods like Valentine’s week, so it is important to make sure an order has been successfully save to your system’s hard drive.
Although infrequent, index errors are the most common kind although system memory errors and missing file errors are also possible.

Normally, when a filePro or system error occurs, a blue screen comes up stating the reason for the error.
You should always write this down (don’t try to print it even if it says H for Hardcopy) and send it to me in an email or call me and tell me about it.
I said normally because sometimes, with certain memory errors or if you are typing ahead of the screen display, the error will just flash through the screen and you will not see it or if you do see it flash you will not have time for write it down.

However, 99% of the time the invoice will print even if you get an error. This is due to the fact that the first thing flowerSoft does once you say you have no corrections is to bring up the print screen and let you print the order.
This takes place before flowerSoft tries to do any posting and any indexes are updated.

After you finish with the printing process, flowerSoft starts the posting process and if an error is going to occur, it will occur at this point.

Although it is normal to think that if you see the printer spit out the invoice that everything must be OK, it is not necessarily so. Most errors normally occur after the invoice prints.

One way to tell that an error has not occurred is if you end up back in the New Orders menu screen.
ON ACCOUNT orders will display the following screen while posting…

and this screen after posting…

ON ACCOUNT orders are, of course, the most important ones because if they have not posted the customer will not be charged for the purchase.
Train yourself and your staff to always look for that green screen reading “Transaction Posted” when entering ON ACCOUNT orders.

I realize this is something you might forget to do once in a while, so I’ve added another way to make sure the order has saved to your hard drive.

After finishing the order, if everything worked as it should have, you were returned to the “New Orders” menu screen…

and you could see the invoice number and the amount of the order you had just entered at the bottom of the screen.

However, no one is looking at that piece of information normally and much less during hectic times.
So, to make things easier I’ve added coding that will make sure that the last invoice you entered has been successfully stored in the hard drive.
From now own, when you are returned to the “New Orders” menu, you will see this…

The “OK” indicates that flowerSoft looked for the last invoice you entered and found it to be in your hard drive.

If flowerSoft does not find the order in your hard drive, it will display the following message…

So that won’t be so easy to miss.

Please note that this works as long as you do not exit the “New Orders” menu screen.
Once you exit the “New Orders” menu screen, flowerSoft will no longer know the invoice number of the last order you last entered.
In those cases, the “New Orders” menu screen will display like this…

The “OK” will not be there.
Why? Because since flowerSoft did not have the number of the last invoice you entered, it just looked for the highest invoice number it could find in the hard drive.
This may or may not be the invoice number for the last order you entered.
So make sure you always look for the “OK”.

flowerSoft offers you many ways to verify that all the orders you’ve entered were saved to the hard drive.
Most of them can be found in the Manager’s menu under the Troubleshooting option.
However, to make it easier to find and use, I’ve added one option to the “End of Day” reports (which can be run by anyone) that will check all the orders entered for today’s date and make sure they exist in your hard drive.

This new option will run through all the orders entered today and look for them in the hard drive.

If any of the orders are not found…

Like I said before, this new option can be run by anyone but only a supervisor should act on the report.
In other words, only a supervisor should make the decision on whether an order should be rescued or not. Remember that flowerSoft cannot tell if you have re-entered the same order under a different invoice number.

The “rescue” file starts keeping a copy of an order as soon as it reaches the recipient information screen.
It keeps saving a copy of the order as you go through the order.
However, if you exit the order in a manner other than what is expected by flowerSoft (hitting the Esc key), the copy of the order will remain in the “rescue” file.
If you then re-enter the order, the system may give it a different number but there will still be a copy in the “rescue” file with the original number given to the order.
The original invoice number will then show up as a missing invoice but in fact it was re-entered under a new invoice number.

I would suggest that you have your employees run the report but limit the rescuing of the order to a supervisor and to never do it without researching if the order was entered under a different invoice number.

In closing, there are only 2 ways I know of that an order will not end up in your hard drive.
This first one and most common is if you get some type of filePro or system error during the posting process and the second one is if the user clicks on the Windows “x”

Other than those 2 ways, your orders should always end up in your hard drive.
It is also possible that you cannot find an order because the index you are using for the search is corrupt.
This happens but it happens very seldom and there are ways to re-build the indexes from the Manager’s menu.
The order is still in your hard drive but because of the index you are using is corrupt, you cannot find it.
When you try to rescue the order, flowerSoft will most likely tell you that the order exists in the hard drive and cannot be rescued.
In those cases, the index is corrupt or you searched incorrectly, meaning you entered the wrong invoice number or name or other piece of data.  Always make sure that your search data is correct.

I hope this makes you understand how and why orders may not always end up in your hard drive and why flowerSoft keeps a “rescue” file just in case something bad happens.

Speaking of indexes, some of you have asked if indexes should be rebuild periodically.  The answer to that question is that although is not necessary, it will not hurt either.  However, rebuilding the indexes should only be done when no one is using flowerSoft or they might get an error while entering an order or payment if the indexes being used for those operations are in the process of being rebuilt.

Indexes are really just files (data structures) that improve the speed of the data retrieval process operation. keep your data sorted a certain way.  In flowerSoft 99% of the indexes used are automatic indexes.   This means that every time you add or take away data from the database, if there is one or more indexes build on that data, they need to be re-built on the spot, otherwise you would not be able to access the most current data.
There are many, many indexes in flowerSoft.  1,831 at last count.
Depending on the amount of data you have and on the speed of your computer system it can take a considerable amount of time to rebuild all those indexes.  So if you choose to do this, make sure you do it when the store is slow or at the end of the day.

I certainly hope all of you are backing up your data every day, but I still see that many of you who do not exit out of flowerSoft at the end of each day.  If you are doing automatic backups through a service such as Gillware, Carbonite or if you are doing your own backups, not exiting out of flowerSoft means that some of the most important files may never get backed up because they may be in a locked status by the workstation who did not exit to the desktop.

Always exit all the way out of flowerSoft at the end of each day, and when I say all the way I mean all the way out to the desktop.

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