Again another quick turnaround update for the BidSmart Estimator. This time the portions of the program to receive most of the updates are the Error Handling and the Export and Printing code. A bulleted list is at the end of the post with most everything that was fixed, added, or updated.
A more robust Handling of Errors
I became aware of some possible errors that were not “trapped” and made to either continue peacefully or exit gracefully. This also needs to be done while showing a readable error message which may help either the user or the developer.
Over 40 new error handlers were added and most of the existing ones were updated to add better error trapping and notification. Existing print error handlers were all restructured and simplified. This was done because, unfortunately, several of the handlers could be bypassed and would crash the application and sometimes require an Excel restart. They have all been redesigned and should now work flawlessly.
Of course, the whole idea is for the user to not have to deal with errors and this notion has been applied thoughtfully throughout the application. To help a programming-minded user, a new button was added to the Developer’s Utility form to provide “one-click” access to a Microsoft listing of VBA errors.
A More Seamless and Perfect Export Process
Attention was made to some “awkward” and “clumsy” code with regard to the reporting of a Scope of Work. The process worked well 99% of the time but was not as fluid as hoped. Serious portions of this code were also reworked.
Besides fixing some error causing glitches and removing worthless (unused) code, the exporting of Subtotals was overhauled. Because the Subtotaling function of the Estimator requires the use of the User Defined Function (UDF), AddCosts(), it is difficult, if not impossible, to export a “dynamic” subtotal. By dynamic I mean one that will change when you change costs or other variables within the Estimate. This all being said, the Estimator’s exported subtotals are simply text and do not change. Think about it, how would subtotals work with a PDF or image file? Sometimes you want to print these text values out and other times you may not. So as shown in the dialog box above, you now have a choice.
In other export processes, such as to a PDF file, you will be asked if you want to include subtotals. By the way the next big update may include importing dynamic subtotals from one compatible Estimator to another compatible one.
While fixing and overhauling the above-mentioned problems, predictably, other fixable items were found. They are listed below. I still consider this, version 2 of the estimator, basically the version 2, 12.1.22 update. As usual, you can download the updated workbook and Quick Start Guide from the main Estimator page.
Fixes and Additions
- Over 40 new error traps and handlers were added overall.
- More robust print error handling in all of the printing procedures was added.
- The LinesOfCode() function was removed along with all of its points of usage. This was due to crashes occurring when Excel was not set to allow access to the VBA project Object Model. This topic is a bit advanced for the average user and even many VBA programmers.
- A link to the Microsoft Error message webpage on the Developer Utility form by way of a button was added to the form.
- The Itemized report routines were checked and updated for more accurate results.
- The export to PDF routine that sometimes showed lines truncated was fixed.
- An option to remove subtotals from the exported scope of work and other exported documents was added.
- The width of Column B on the BidSheet was increased to 22 to show more characters.
- The right side border (No Man’s Land) has been extended to Excel’s worksheet column AL to accommodate wide monitors.
- Sample data now includes dynamic Subtotals (previously they were simply text, as imported through Estimator’s Import tool.)
- A Select All option has been added to the Import form.
- Remnants of the Old Licensing code were removed along with the related variables.
The Contract Export Menu Item
The Contract Export routine still needs to link to a webpage on this site which is not written yet but should be by Christmas. The Promo form which appears when the menu item is clicked is functional, but with nowhere to go. It will export the Estimator’s data to a BidSmart Contact, but since that is not currently available either, the button does nothing.
Remember, I often update the Estimator a few issues at a time. This is usually based on my experience using it for my own business. Some of the problems fixed in this update were detected when doing a large whole-house estimate. The Estimator does work well, I just keep trying to make it better. If you have any suggestions please send them to me.
Get the updated workbook and Quick Start Guide from the main Estimator page.