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Kraft Version 0.81 Released

June 17, 2018 Leave a comment

I am happy to announce the release of Kraft version 0.81. Kraft is a Qt based desktop application that helps you to handle documents like quotes and invoices in your small business.

Version 0.81 is a bugfix release for the previous version 0.80, which was the first stable release based on Qt5 and KDE Frameworks5. Even though it came with way more new features than just the port, it’s first release has proven it’s stability in day-to-day business now for a few month.

Kraft 0.81 mainly fixes building with Qt 5.11, and a few other installation- and AppStream metadata glitches. The only user visible fix is that documents do not show the block about individual taxes on the PDF documents any more if the document only uses one tax rate.

Thanks for your suggestions and opinions that you might have about Kraft!

Categories: KDE, Kraft, Release Tags: , ,

Kraft Version 0.80 Released

April 3, 2018 3 comments

I am happy to announce the release of the stable Kraft version 0.80 (Changelog).

Kraft is desktop software to manage documents like quotes and invoices in the small business. It focuses on ease of use through an intuitive GUI, a well choosen feature set and ensures privacy by keeping data local.

After more than a dozen years of life time, Kraft is now reaching a new level: It is now completely ported to Qt5 / KDE Frameworks 5 and with that, it is compatible with all modern Linux distributions again.

KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt5 are the best base for modern desktop software and Kraft integrates seamlessly into all Linux desktops. Kraft makes use of the great KDE PIM infrastructure with KAddressbook and Akonadi.

In addition to the port that lasted unexpectedly over 12 months, Kraft v. 0.80 got a whole bunch of improvements, just to name some examples:

More Flexible Addressbook Integration

As Akonadi is optional now, Kraft can be built without it. Even if it was built with, but Akonadi for whatever reason is not working properly, Kraft still runs smoothly. In that case it only lacks the convenience of address book integration.

The Address book access was also nicely abstracted so that other Addressbook backends can be implemented more easily.

GUI Improvements

Even though the functionality and GUI of Kraft was not changed dramatically compared to the last stable KDE 4 version, there were a few interesting changes in the user interface.

  • A new, bigger side bar simplifies navigation.
  • In the timeline view, a click on years and month in the treeview show summaries of the selected time span, ie. the number of documents with financial summaries per month or year.
  • A filter allows to limit the view on the current week or month.

Reduction of dependencies

Kraft makes broad use of the core Qt5 libraries. The required KDE dependencies were reduced to a bare minimum. Akonadi libraries, which enable KDE PIM integration are now optional. The former dependency on heavyweight web browser components were completely removed and replaced by the far more simple richtext component of Qt.

These changes make it not only easier and more transparent to build Kraft but allow make a port to other platforms like MacOSX more easy in the future.

Under the Hood

A countless number of bugfixes and small improvements went in. Also updates to the newer C++ concepts where applicable make the rather mature code base more modern and better maintainable.

The Reportlab based PDF document creation script was updated and merged with a later version for example.

Deployment

Installing Kraft is still a bit complicated for unexperienced users, and distributions sometimes haven’t made a good job in the past to provide the latest version of Kraft.

To make it easier to test, there is an AppImage of Kraft 0.80 available that should be runable on most modern distributions. Just download a single file that can be started right away after having added the executable permissions.

Linux packages are already built for openSUSE (various versions) or Gentoo.

Kraft’s website will contain a lot more information.

Categories: KDE, Kraft, openSUSE, Qt, Release Tags: , , , ,

Kraft out of KDE

March 22, 2018 13 comments

Following my last blog about Krafts upcoming release 0.80 I got a lot of positive reactions.

There was one reaction however, that puzzles me a bit and I want to share my thoughts here. It is about a comment about my announcement that I prefer to continue to develop Kraft on Github. The commenter reminded my friendly that there is still Kraft code on KDE infrastructure, and that switching to a different repository might waste peoples time when they work with the KDE repo.

That is a fair statement, of course I don’t want to waste peoples time. What sounds a bit strange to me is the second paragraph, that says that if I decide to stay with Github, I should let KDE people know that I wish Kraft to not be a KDE project anymore.

But … I never felt that Kraft should not be a KDE project any more.

A little History

Kraft has come a long way together with KDE. I started Kraft in (probably) 2004, gave a talk about Kraft at the Akademy Dublin 2006, maintained it with the best effort I could contribute until today. There is a small but loyal community around Kraft.

During all the time I got little substancial contribution to the code directly, with the exception of one cool developer who got interested for some time and made some very interesting contributions.

When I asked a for the subdomain http://kraft.kde.org long time ago I got the reply that it is not in the interest of KDE to give every little project a subdomain. As a result I reserved http://volle-kraft-voraus.de and run it since then, happily showing a “Part of the KDE family” logo on it.

Beside the indirect contributions to libraries that Kraft uses, I shipped Kraft with the translations made by the KDE i18n team, for which I always was very grateful. Otherwise I got no other services from KDE.

Why Github?

Githubs workflow serves me well in my day job, and since I have only little time for Kraft, I like to use the tools that I know best and give me the most efficiency.

I know that Github is not free software and I am sceptical about that. But Github also does not lock in, as we still are on git. We all know the arguments that usually come on the table at this point, so I am not elaborating here. One thing I want to mention though is that since I moved to Github publically I already got two little pull requests with code contributions. That is a lot compared to what came in the last twelfe years when living on KDE infrastructure only.

Summary

Kraft is a small project, driven by me alone. My development turnaround is good with Github as I am used to it. Even if no KDE developer would ever look at Github (which I know is not true) I have to say with heavy heart that Kraft would not take big harm by leaving KDEs infra, based on the experience of the last 12 years.

If the KDE translation teams do not want to work with Github, I am fine to accept that, and wonder if there could be a solution rather than switching to Transifex.

One point however I like to make very clear: I did not wish to leave KDE, nor aimed to move Kraft out.
I still have friends in the KDE community, I am still very interested in free software on desktop and elsewhere, and my opinion is still that KDE is the best around.

If the KDE community feels that Kraft must not be a KDE project any longer because it is on Github, ok. I asked KDE Sysadmins to remove Kraft from the KDE git, and it is already done.

Kraft now lifes on on Github.

Categories: FOSS, KDE, Kraft, Opinion, Qt Tags: , ,

Kraft Moving to KDE Frameworks: Beta Release!

February 3, 2018 7 comments

Kraft LogoKraft is KDE/Qt based desktop software to manage documents like quotes and invoices in the small business. It focuses on ease of use through an intuitive GUI, a well chosen feature set and ensures privacy by keeping data local.

Kraft is around for more than twelve years, but it has been a little quiet recently. However, Kraft is alive and kicking!

I am very happy to announce the first public beta version of Kraft V. 0.80, the first Kraft version that is based on KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt 5.x.

It did not only go through the process of being ported to Qt5/KF5, but I also took the opportunity to refactor and tackle a lot of issues that Kraft was suffering from in the past.

Here are a few examples, a full changelog will follow:

  • Akonadi dependency: Earlier Kraft versions had a hard dependency on Akonadi, because it uses the KDE Addressbook to manage customer addresses. Without having Akonadi up and running, Kraft was not functional. People who were testing Kraft without having Akonadi up were walking away with a bad impression of Kraft.

    Because Akonadi and the KDE contacts integration is perfect for this use case, it still the way to go for Kraft, and I am delighted to build on such strong shoulders. But Kraft now also works without Akonadi. Users get a warning, that the full address book integration is not available, but can enter addresses manually and continue to create documents with Kraft. It remains fully functional.

    Also, a better abstraction of the Akonadi-based functionality in Kraft eases porting to platforms where other system address books are available, such as MacOSX.

  • AppImage: The new Kraft is available as AppImage.

    There was a lot of feedback that people could not test Kraft, because it was hard to set up or compile, and dependency are missing. The major Linux distributions seem to be unable to keep up with current versions of leaf packages like Kraft, and I can not do that for the huge variety of distros. So AppImage as container format for GUI applications seems to be a perfect fit here.

  • A lot more was done. Kraft got simplifications in both the code base and the
    functionality, careful gui changes, and a decreased dependency stack. You should check it out!

Today (on FOSDEM weekend, which could be a better date?) the pre version 0.80 beta10 is announced to the public.

I would appreciate if people test and report bugs at Github: That is where the development is currently happening.

Categories: KDE, Kraft, Qt, Release, Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

SMB on openSUSE Conference

May 21, 2017 1 comment

The annual openSUSE Conference 2017 is upcoming! osc17finalNext weekend it will be again in the Z-Bau in Nuremberg, Germany.

The conference program is impressive and if you can make it, you should consider stopping by.

Stefan Schäfer from the Invis server project and me will organize a workshop about openSUSE for Small and Medium Business (SMB).

SMB is a long running concern of the heart of the two of us: Both Stefan, who even does it for living, and me have both used openSUSE in the area of SMB for long and we know how well it serves there. Stefan has even initiated the Invis Server Project, which is completely free software and builds on top of the openSUSE distributions. The Invis Server adds a whole bunch of extra functionality to openSUSE that is extremely useful in the special SMB usecase. It came a long way starting as Stefans own project long years ago, evolving as proper maintained openSUSE Spin in OBS with a small, but active community.

The interesting question is how openSUSE, Invis Server and other smaller projects like for example Kraft can unite and offer a reliable maintained and comprehensive solution for this huge group of potential users, that is now locked in to proprietary technologies mainly while FOSS can really make a difference here.

In the workshop we first will introduce the existing projects briefly, maybe discuss some technical questions like integration of new packages in the openSUSE distributions and such, and also touch organizational question like how we want to setup and market openSUSE SMB.

Participants in the workshop should not expect too much presentation. We rather hope for a lively discussion with many people bringing in their projects that might fit, their experiences and ideas. Don’t be shy 🙂

 

 

Kraft Release 0.55

May 29, 2014 2 comments

Herewith I announce the availability of the new Kraft release 0.55.

It was finished today and fixes two issues that came up after the release of the previous version: A compile fix for compiling Kraft against the latest version of ctemplate, which did not work out of the box with Kraft 0.54. The other fix is a fail in generating PDF documents which is a pretty severe problem for Kraft. Both is now working well with the new version 0.55 which can be downloaded here.

Thanks a lot to the Kraft community for testing!

If you find other problems, want to give feedback or seek help, please see here how to proceed. Thanks!

Categories: KDE, Kraft, Release Tags: , , ,

New Kraft Release 0.54

May 13, 2014 10 comments

blogheadI am happy to tell about the new release 0.54 of Kraft which was released a couple of days ago.

It is not only a maintenance release but also comes with a couple of new features, the most outstandig is the ability to handle a new document type, the delivery note which prints no prices. That closes a gap for interesting use cases. Here is a more detailed log of what was added to this release.

Kraft is KDE software to help people driving a small business. Emphasis is on small and business. We are not talking CMS, ERP or any other monster. Kraft is about a handy alternative for people who wrote their first 25 invoices using Libre Office and now start to think of how they could could be more efficient in doing that: Using structured templates, being able to create an invoice based on a quote that was done before, no need to fiddle around with slipping paragraphs, a proper address book, such stuff. zollstockSoftware for people who have other things to do than sit in front of their computer. Hard to understand for geeks like us who enjoy this technology, but yes, there are a lot of people who do not, who just use computers because they must, because they have a business.

I started to work on Kraft in 2006, and worked on similar software before, well, we all have our dark history. I always enjoyed doing software for people who would prefer to not use the computer. And the more I got involved into KDE the more obvious it became to me how perfectly KDE is able to help with that. High level classes, components to reuse, other projects aiming the same direction, and a community of helpful, friendly and open minded people. Also I think software like Kraft is a good addition to the KDE family as it has potential to bring more and different users to KDE.

However, if measured by the number of known users of Kraft, this idea failed completely. Compared to other KDE software, Kraft has disappointing little (known) users. Also contributors: Apart from very few brave developers who spent some time on Kraft, I am the only contributor. The reasons for that can be discussed in another thread.

What still keeps me motivated to work on Kraft is that the few users often tell how happy they are with it. And that Kraft really helps them to drive their business and save time. Also that they found with Linux and KDE a computer “environment” that really helps them reliably instead of facing them with scary stuff. That is really cool, and the best is that this recently happened more often than the years before.

That is what keeps me around with Kraft.

For the future, there are enough ideas: “Combined Kraft” which means using one instance of Kraft from distributed home offices, with ownCloud as sync hub, or an easy to use project management and of course a port to KDE Frameworks 5 to be able to ship for Mac and and and…

Well, it’s a pet project, and my day unfortunately does not leave very much energy behind for that currently, so don’t expect big movement, but be sure that there will be small steps.

Categories: KDE, Kraft, Release Tags: ,