Looking both ways


The past
The Aspect Property Manager was developed with one of the objectives being that users who wish to be self-sufficient could do so without relying upon external support.  The Help topics are extensive for that reason and there are users who have required very little assistance at all.  

When the Aspect Property Manager was first designed we integrated the system with various other Microsoft programs and processes such as word processing, email etc and we also used the Windows Registry.  As a consequence we were let down a number of times by Microsoft changing their programs and/or operating system with no warning, generally due to yet another security issue, and the Aspect Property Manager, like many other programs, then "fell over" and we had a mad scramble to make our software function again by workarounds or extensive programming changes.

Over the years we have divorced ourselves from such dependencies as much as possible so you will find integrated into the Aspect Property Manager an email system, a mail merge function with standard or form letters, a backup and restore system along with other odd things which avoid reliance upon Microsoft.

The present
Help is currently undergoing changes from the original design with the intention of making it easier to maintain so changes to existing screens or processes and new functions can be added in a much more timely way.  As suggested in the original Help "Spending a little time learning how to use the Help facilities will make the task of getting the Aspect Property Manager up and running and general operation much more pleasurable." and we still make that recommendation along with the observation that there is no way you can absorb all the details in the Help topics in one sitting and you will gain most by nibbling at it now and again.

There are also a number of modifications taking place in the system at present which are being implemented in stages over several releases.  This approach has been taken with these particular changes because of the extent of program changes required.

The future
Although we know extensive use of Help is made by many users we are introducing more informative messages and warnings where unusual or unexpected situations occur.  These are intended to stop errors being made such as forgetting to run the End of Period processing when the computer (calendar) date is after the End of Period date.

We will be introducing a number of wizards to assist new users in particular to "get things right" from the start.  The initial setting up of any system is difficult for anyone to get right.  You are trying to learn about a new system and don't necessarily understand the relationships which exist and the downstream effects if something is entered incorrectly.  We believe these wizards will overcome some, and hopefully all, of these problems.

Suggestions for improvement are welcome.  We have a "wish list" of facilities we want to introduce over time, many of which have been suggested by users for which we are grateful.  There is a degree of disappointment felt when we find a user who has had an idea for an improvement for ages and not told us about it.  So if you do have a suggestion tell us about it, don't sit on it.

Similarly, if you find a bug tell us about it too.  We can't fix what we don't know about.  Built into the Aspect Property Manager is a bug reporting system which we encourage you to use.  Please enter information where requested stating what you just did as precisely as you can.  Saying you had "just entered a receipt containing only a bond value when ...." is much more informative than "I was entering a receipt" or (even more useless) "receipt entry".