Manage your business documents with Kraft
If you run, own, or work for a business you know that communication is the key to success is successful communication. And to keep communication working well you must have a means to manage communication. Of course communication breaks into numerous categories. The Documents category is one that can not be overlooked. Documents can be invoices, letter heads, form letters, offers, and more. For many the managing of these documents means dumping them in a folder and hoping for the best. For small to medium sized businesses this is not the best means to manage the amount of documents that come and go. A better way is to use a software designed just for this purpose.
One such solution is Kraft. Kraft is a software designed to help you write and manage the documents you use to run your business. It works with a MySQL backend, is designed for the KDE desktop (but will run in GNOME once all dependencies are met), and can even handle some calculations for you. In this tutorial I will show you how to install and use Kraft. NOTE: As of this writing Kraft can only create Offers, Acceptance of Offers, and Invoices. Hopefully in the future a document-type creator wizard will be added.
Currently Kraft has binarys for Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuSE, SuSE Enterprise Linux, and Debian. These can all be found in the Kraft download page. You will have to download various files from here (depending upon your distribution) and then install one more package from your package manager. For example, when installing on Ubuntu I have to download:
Download those and then open up your package manager to install one more package. The package you need to install is libqt3-mt-mysql. Search for that package, select it for installation, and apply the changes to install. If you do not install that final package Kraft will not be able to connect to your MySQL database. Now go to the directory you downloaded the packages for your installation and install them. For our Ubuntu example I would issue the command:
sudo dpkg -i *deb (assuming the three deb packages above are the only in the directory).
Creating the database
Before you start Kraft you need to create the database. To do this go back to your terminal window and issue the command:
mysql -u root -p
Hit the Enter key and then type your MySQL administrator password. You will now be at the MySQL prompt. Issue the following command to create your database:
CREATE DATABASE kraft;
Hit the Enter key and then type quit and hit the Enter key to exit the MySQL prompt. You are now read to fire up Kraft and begin creating documents.
The first time you fire up Kraft you will be prompted to configure your database. Figure 1 shows how this is done. Once you fill out the details, hit the Check Connection. When you see the Connection State listed as Good you can OK these changes and then restart Kraft to ensure the connection is made.
When you restart Kraft you may be warned that your database will be over written. This is okay because you have not inserted any data into the database yet.
When Kraft finally opens you will see a very simple user interface (see Figure 2). Don't let the simplicity of the interface fool you, Kraft is a powerful, useful tool.
To create a new document click the Create Document button to begin the Document Wizard. One of the first things you will notice is the warning that "Customer: Not yet selected". This should indicate to you that you will be able to build a customer database with Kraft. Brilliant.
The wizard is very simple. The steps are:
- Select the document type, add a date, and add any Whiteboard content to the document.
- Select a customer (if none exist you can create one here).
- Add items to the document.
- Save the document.
Once the document is saved it will be listed in the Main window where you can right click it and handle numerous actions (such as Print, Edit, and Email).
One thing of note. You will want to go to the Settings > Configure Kraft window and configure your taxes. By default they are set at:
- Full - 19.0 %
- Reduced - 7.0 %
Make sure you adjust these to reflect your locations tax.
I hope the developers of Kraft continue working on this tool and even make it more versatile so that more document types can be created. But even as it stands, Kraft is a very useful tool that will allow you to create outstanding invoices, offers, and acceptance of offer documents.Advertisement