Thursday, October 20, 2011

Customize Terminal for Mac OS X Snow Leopard

Wanted to permanently change the default prompt used in the Mac Terminal as well as add other customizations to Terminal behaviour. Found mixed recommendations on the web for how to do this, but none of which worked for me on a MBP with OS X 10.6. In the end I just guessed at a few things at eventually did the following:

- Edit the file /etc/bashrc (that's right, not '.bashrc' but simply 'bashrc').
- Append the desired value for $PS1, which overrides the definition already present in the file.

For example, to customize my prompt and have all 'ls' commands become 'ls -al' I appended the following:

PS1='\u: \w\$ '
alias "ls"="ls -al"

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Notes on Installing Lighty (lightTPD) + PHP on Mac OS X

Although, in general, a relatively easy process when done as described here, it still wasn't w/o issues for me. The two main articles I based the install off of are as follows:

1. Install PHP5, lighttpd and Imagick on Mac OS X Leopard
2. Symfony flying with Lighttpd on Mac OS X 10.6

In my case I was using Snow Leopard (10.6) and didn't care about Imagick or Symfony so simply ignored those parts. My system is also already a running MAMP (Mac+Apache+Mysql+Php) so in the end I configure Lighty to run on port 81 and, for the sake of this blog, I'm not bothered with installing MySQL because I already have it. If you need to install MySQL, however, there's now a self-installing package for Mac OS X so it should be a breeze.

I found the following useful for if things go wrong:

- Check if lighttpd was loaded AND enabled using the terminal command "sudo launchctl list".
- Open up the ever-handy Console utility (Applications>Utilities>Console) and view the Console Message or system.log. If Lighty is trying to start but failing it should show a message about every 10 seconds explaining why it failed.


In my case, the main reason the default installation didn't work is because of the following default Lighty configuration: = "linux-sendfile"

Which results in the following error: " has a unknown value: linux-sendfile"

Not sure what the 'best' value should be on a Mac, but simply changing this to: = "writev"

worked for me.

I also tripped on the following, so watch out! The modules.conf file says "at least mod_access and mod_accesslog should be loaded" and then the server.modules variable shows only "mod_access" by default. So I added "mod_accesslog" but this only stopped Lighty from loading. So don't do this! Later realized that the accesslog module is already included in the master lighttpd.conf file.

Also, you do NOT need to add modules to the server.modules variable if there's already a predefined .conf file in the conf.d directory. Simply un-comment the line in modules.conf that includes the appropriate file. This is because the include file does this for you.


Again, mostly just followed the instructions. Below are things that varied for my install or selections I made when instructions differed.

1. The install command in the Imagick instructions is out-dated and will not install MySQL. The command in the 'Symfony' instructions look more up-to-date but still didn't work for me. I had to instal several extensions separately. The commands I used were

"sudo port install php5 +fastcgi +pear"
"sudo port install php5-mysql"
"sudo port install php5-xsl"
"sudo port install php5-gd"
"sudo port install php5-mbstring"
"sudo port install php5-iconv"
"sudo port install php5-curl"
"sudo port install php5-openssl"
"sudo port install php5-soap"

Installation of php5-mysql output the message "To use mysqlnd with a local MySQL server, edit /opt/local/etc/php5/php.ini and set mysql.default_socket, mysqli.default_socket and pdo_mysql.default_socket to /opt/local/var/run/mysql5/mysqld.sock" but I just ignored this (tried doing it, as well as making the appropriate directory with group permission for mysql user, but then Lighty connections to MySQL started failing).

2. Config files were located at /opt/local/etc/php5 and I copied from the dev default file since that's what I'll be using Lighty for.

3. Didn't bother with changing the extension_dir variable.

4. My install came with a hierarchical .conf file structure so enabling PHP involved multiple .conf files as opposed to a single lighttpd.conf file. This involved...
- un-comment the line "include "conf.d/fastcgi.conf" in modules.conf
- adding the following to the end of the fastcgi.conf file:

fastcgi.server = ( ".php" =>
( "localhost" =>
"socket" => socket_dir + "/php-fastcgi.socket",
"bin-path" => "/opt/local/bin/php-cgi"

- Note that the socket directory uses a pre-defined variable, unlike the fixed
paths given in the referenced instructions.

5. Setup ownerships and permission mostly according to the 'Symfony' instructions, but my paths were based on variables defined in lighttpd.conf. For example, the pid file path was = state_dir + "/",
which was equivalent to
As a result, the folders and location of files I needed to give www ownership to varied from those in the 'Symfony' instructions.

6. Note that my install had no lighttpd.wrapper file, so they start/restart command were not applicable. I had to start/restart using load/unload with the launchctl command. For example:
"sudo launchctl load /opt/local/etc/LaunchDaemons/org.macports.lighttpd/org.macports.lighttpd.plist"

For this I used the simple_vhost module.

1. Un-comment the following line in modules.conf

include "conf.d/simple_vhost.conf"

2. Edit simple_vhosts.conf accordingly. For example,

simple-vhost.server-root = vhosts_dir + "/"
simple-vhost.default-host = "lighty.anotherlocalhost"
simple-vhost.document-root = "/anotherlocalhost/"

In this example above, the path

vhosts_dir + "/lighty.anotherlocalhost/anotherlocalhost/"

MUST exist. That is, the path to the doc-root includes a directory named after the default-host variable.

3. Add an entry for lighty.anotherlocalhost into you hosts file (/etc/hosts) and clear the cache for this (terminal command: "dscacheutil -flushcache").

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Handling Upfront Payments with FrontAccounting

Maybe it's just because I'm new to all this accounting stuff, but I didn't find the method of logging upfront payments in FrontAcounting very intuitive. Maybe it's similar for all accounting software but, in anycase, here's how I worked it out.

This applies to sales with an upfront (aka, prepaid, on demand, paid in advance) payment method. For example, you receive a payment online via PayPal which goes directly into your PayPal account, and then you process the order accordingly with no further invoicing required. I found that there are 2 different ways to handle this in FA which I will refer to as the Traditional Method and the Quick Method. I call the longer method traditional because it was once the only option before FA added 'Direct' invoicing.


PRE-REQ: By default, FrontAccounting does not create a prepayment payment option so, if not already done, you must do this manually. Under Setup>Payment Terms, create a new payment option of Payment type 'Prepayment'. For example, create one named PayPal.

When order is received create an applicable sales order (Sales>Sales Order Entry) and select the desired prepayment option (that you should have created), such as PayPal, for the Payment field.

Once the order has been processed/shipped create the Delivery Note & Sales Invoice by first using Sales>Delivery Against Sales Orders and selecting the sales order in step 1, then using Sales>Invoice Against Sales Delivery and again select the same sales order. This step will generate the appropriate Delivery Note and Sales Invoice entries in the journal. The Delivery Note handles inventory transactions while the Sales Invoice debits the Accounts Receivables for the order amount. Optionally, you can combine steps 1b & 2 using Sales>Direct Invoice.

Add payment using Sales>Customer Payments and select the sales order created in step 1 (note that sales order will only show here if it was created with a pre-pay payment type). Also remember to select the appropriate receiving bank account (such as PayPal). If applicable, as is the case with PayPal, include the transaction fee in the Bank Charge field*. This step creates a Customer Payment entry in the journal which essentially transfers Accounts Receivables (as created by the previous step) to an actual bank account.

For cases where some or all of the revenue received from the sale can be reported prior to shipping, the additional steps below can be added to the process. Note, however, that according to accounting rules revenue from retail sales must, in most cases, be reported only once the product has shipped.

Add this step before 1b:
Make a customer payment (Sales>Customer Payments) for the amount that is to be received as income prior to completing the order.

Add this step after 3, although step 3 may no longer be necessary if revenue received prior to sales order was the complete amount:
Now assign the Sales Invoice to the Customer Payment using Sales>Allocate Customer Payments or Credit Notes. There you should see the Customer Payment you created in step 1 which, after you select the allocate icon, you can assign to the Sales Invoice created in step 2.

*NOTE: Bank charges by default go to the Interest & Bank Charges account. If you'd like to track PayPal fees to a different account you can create one and assign it as the Bank Charges Account under Setup>System and General GL Setup. However, because this option is not bank specific ALL customer/supplier payment charges will now go to this account. If you only use PayPal for payments that involve charges, this is OK, otherwise you'll have to live with all charges being clumped together into the default account.


The much (much much) quicker method involves just a single FA form but you cannot control the date of journal entries (all entries occur at once), you cannot enter an optional bank charge, and the order amount must be paid in full in one shot.

PRE-REQ: You must create your PayPal account as a Cash Account and you must relate this account to Point of Sale (POS) transactions under Setup>Points of Sale as well as under Setup>User Accounts Setup>User's POS.

Create a Direct Invoice (Sales>Direct Invoice) and select the "Cash Only" Payment type. If you configured POS correctly (see PRE-REQs above) the PayPal cash account should be the Cash Account under the Cash Payment section. Place the invoice and that's it! This will automatically create the Delivery Note, Sales Invoice, and Customer Payment journal entries which ultimately puts money directly into you bank account. For more details on what these journal entries do refer to the Traditional Method.