For the longest time, I had no real invoicing system for my independent contract work. I just never found anything that I really liked and rarely found the inspiration to go looking. But recently, I got in the mood to find a long-term solution. What I found was a lot of hosted solutions, a lot of closed source ‘for-purchase’ solutions, and a lot of second-rate software.
- PHP Invoice looked nice, but its non-free and not open source
- cInvoice looked ugly and the licensing terms were unpleasant
- InvoiceMe is shareware, I didn’t even see a demo
- PHP InvoiceIt is not open source, no demo
- gcdb might be good, but probably not since the latest release is from 2001
I could keep going on, there are seemingly limitless half-assed, incomplete or outdated projects available with friendly (GPL or BSD style) licenses, a few great software packages that are available in unfriendly licenses or not available to download at all, and a bunch that are both bad and have ugly licenses. I was ready to break down and build my own invoice system from scratch with python/django, until I found BambooInvoice.
With BambooInvoice, I’m able to do my work on site, then log on remotely to my invoice server, create an invoice and print a pdf before I leave. You can add private notes to invoices, track payments, easily email the invoices to your clients. You can easily create multiple accounts if you have other staff that needs to manage invoices, and you can store details on each of your clients. One feature that’s missing is recurring invoices, but I know that’s on the radar. Perhaps if I have some time, I’ll add that feature. Overall, the system feels solid, and the sliding ajaxy goodness makes it look sexy too. Plus, the whole package is licensed under the GPL. It just makes you feel good all over.
The only package I found that could meet my needs was BambooInvoice, and I’ve got nothing but good things to say about it. I already sent a note of congratulations to the project developer Derek Allard and I wish this project continued success.