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Form Processor with no SPAM from robots.

Manage Remote websites from your website. Allow clients to update sections of their own web pages.

Secure file manager with upload progress meter. A printer's best friend. Find out more.

Program Name: Invoice Center
Original Release: April 2001
Cost: Free
Platform: UNIX or Linux
Requires: Perl5+

  1. In brief
  2. Requirements
  3. Disclaimer
  4. Introduction
  5. Configuration
  6. Installation
    1. Secure Installation
  7. Un-Install
  8. Program Control Panel
    1. Summary
    2. Changing the password
    3. Program Configuration Settings
    4. WebForm
    5. Payment Screen
    6. Archives
    7. Exiting
  9. Users Guide
  10. Tips
  11. FAQ's
  12. Security
  13. Support

In Brief
Thank you for choosing to try Invoice Center. Invoice Center is a full service utility for gathering information from web site visitors, passing it on and storing results. It is strongly reccommended you read this whole file carefully before attempting to install it on your server. However, to get this program up and running on a UNIX server, generally, all you need do is:

Set the correct path to Perl at the top of each .cgi file

Set the $Datakey variable in the _cfg.cgi file. The $Datakey is an added level of protections. The $Datakey must be exactly ten characters long, letters or numbers only. This removes the ability of other users of this program to view your data files.

Upload all files to your cgi-bin or a directory within your cgi-bin.
CHMOD all the .cgi files to 755

Load your Browser , point it to the _setup.cgi file and follow the on screen instructions

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This program requires a UNIX server. You must have CGI privileges/access to install and run this program. This program will not run on an NT web server and has not been tested on a Mac Server.

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Please read the Perl Services Licensing Agreement

By downloading, purchasing, acquiring and/or implementing any PerlServices software, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of the distribution policy.

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Thank you for choosing to try Invoice Center. Invoice Center is a full service utility for gathering information from web site visitors, passing it on and storing results. At it's core is a basic form-mailer engine but it is much more than just form-mail! This program is also capable of being run on a secure server.

In addition to mailing you and the submitter content submitted from a web page form, Invoice Center will also allow you to store all submissions on your server. This way you can retrieve form input from any web enabled browser anywhere in the world. This way, if you're not at home to receive your e-mail notification, you can still see what has been submitted. You can save the data as long as you want. You can delete or archive entries individually or by group and forward a group of invoices to an associate. All with just a few clicks of the mouse in your web based interface. Payment notifications can be sent to any number of people! From the administration section, just enter any number of email addresses in the "Submission Notifications" field. Separate each address with a space. Using our advanced programming techniques, Invoice Center is simple to install and configure and operation is a breeze! Once you have set up the program, you can create an unlimited number of forms to display. Our browser based configuration and settings panel eliminates the need to program or code. To get going with Invoice Center, read the following brief configuration section then move on to the easy to follow, step-by-step installation guide.

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Before you can install this program, there are a few configuration items you must first address. Path To Perl All CGI programs written in Perl must start with a line that tells the web server where to look for the Perl interpreter. This means the very first line of each of the .cgi files MUST be the Path to Perl. Here are some examples of common paths to Perl:


This program was shipped with a default path of: #!/usr/bin/perl5

The first configuration item to address is to make sure that this is the correct Path to Perl for your web server. Your Virtual Hosts support/FAQ pages will tell you what the correct Path to Perl is for your web server. If this information can not be found on the support/FAQ pages then you should contact your System Administrator or Support Dept. to find out the correct value. In lieu of them being available, the samples above are fairly standard. Try them all out in the order above and see if any work for you.

Next, use your test editor to open the file "_cfg.cgi". Just below the header, there is one variable called $DataKey. You must set this variable to a completely random sequence of numbers and letters, upper case or lower case is fine but do NOT use any punctuation characters. Setting this $DataKey is a required step and it plugs a security hole that is present in all standardized, distributed CGI programs. There is an explanation of this accompanying the variable, please read the explanation and set the key now. Remember that it must be exactly ten characters long. If there is a problem with the Data Key that you set, the program will not set-up properly and you will be prompted to correct it.

On most servers, this should be the end of any configuration changes you have to set in the script.

This program uses our advanced set-up routine, which will create all it's own directories and set it's own permissions on data directories. If the program encounters a problem during the set-up process, you will be given specific directions on what to do. If the instructions given don't allow you to successfully install the program or you are not comfortable following the instructions, contact us through the INTERACTIVE SCRIPTS Script Centre support forum at:

PerlServices Support

Please note that unless the program tells you otherwise, you do not have to create or set permissions on any directories.

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To install this program, you must have an FTP client and be familiar with how to use its basic functions. If your not sure how to achieve any of the stated functions or commands with your FTP client, please refer to our FAQ on installation and on using FTP clients at:

Installation FAQ

You must also have set the Path to Perl if it is different from the shipped value.

Here are the installation steps:

1. Open your FTP client and connect to your web space.

2. In your cgi-bin (some call it just "cgi") create a sub-directory with any legal name that you want (i.e. "myprogram").
3. CHMOD this sub-directory to 755 (rwx-rx-rx).

4. Change into this sub-directory with your FTP client.

5. Making sure your FTP client is set to transfer in ASCII mode and not binary mode, transfer the cgi files into the newly created sub-directory.

6. CHMOD each or these files to 755 (rwx-rx-rx).

7. Launch your web browser and in the address line of the browser, type the full URL to the _setup.cgi script:


8. You should now see a set-up screen asking you to enter a User Name and Password (you have to enter the password twice). If you see this screen, it means the program has been installed correctly. Enter your new User Name and Password. Enter the Password a second time in the space provided. Submit the form.

9. If you made any mistakes along the way, you will get a warning message with instructions on what to do to correct the error. If you get an error that says the program could not set-up the password file, this means that the program is unable to access the data directory. If this was the first pass through the set-up screen, then there is a server specific problem. Contact us at our support centre for assistance. If this is not the first pass through the set-up screen and you were asked to create some sub-directories, then the program and sever are not able to resolve the Root directory. In this case, you must do the following:
a. You must now create a directory on your server for the data files to be written to. Follow the instructions in the installation area above. This time however, the data directory must be outside of the cgi-bin and it must be CHMOD 777.

b. Once you have done that, use your text editor (Notepad or similar) to open the _cfg.cgi file. Just below the script header block you will see a variable like this:

      $DefaultData = "";

Set the absolute path to that directory in the above variable. It will look like:

      $DefaultData = "/usr/name/htdocs/some_data_directory";

c. Note that this variable does NOT end with a slash.

d. Save the changes to the file then re-upload it to the same directory it was originally installed in on the server.

e. Run the set-up routine again. If the problem persists, contact us at the Script Centre support forum for assistance.

Once you have received the screen that says "Set-up Successful" your program is installed, configured and ready to run. Prior to using it for form submissions, you should go directly to the section on "Settings" in the Administration portion of this document. This will explain how to use and set configuration parameters from the administration interface.

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Secure Installation
This program can be used on a secure server, but you will need to set the value of a few extra variables.

First, you must open the following four files and set the $SecureServer variable in each. Note that each URL points to each script. Enter your server secure URL in each file.

File Variable Path
invoice.cgi $SecureServer https://secure_path/
invoice_setup.cgi $SecureServer https://secure_path/
invoice_uninstall.cgi $SecureServer https://secure_path/
invoice_admin.cgi $SecureServer https://secure_path/

Next, you need to set the $DefaultData variable's value. The value of this variable should be the absolute path to your www folder, then you will need to add a few more folders to that path. The folders you need to add are


where $DataKey is the value of the variable set in the invoice_cfg.cgi file ( that is a security feature to prevent others who have downloaded the program being able to find your data files, so set this key to a random set of 10 characters ). SO your initial path might look like:


then add the extra folders to it. Eg.


All of the folder from "ris_datalogs" must be CHMODed to 777 ( rwx-rwx-rwx ).

Upload all files to your cgi-bin and CHMOD them to 755

Load your browser and point it to the invoice_setup.cgi file. Enter a Username and Pass and press the button.

Follow any onscreen instructions if you run into any problems. The instructions will tell you if any of the above folders can not be found ( i.e they have not been created ). If they have been created, make sure they are CHMODed to 777 ( full read, write, execute permissions ).

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This program ships with an easy un-install program. If you decide that you no longer wish to use the program, instead of manually deleting all the files, use our un-install program. This will ensure that all program generated files are removed from the server including data AND executable files.

Simply upload the un-install file to the same directory as your other files , making sure the correct path to perl is set (it requires that the _cfg.cgi file still be in place) and CHMOD it 755. You then go to your browser and type in the full URL to the _uninstall.cgi program and press enter. This will remove all the files. There is no confirmation and no warning screen. Un-installing the program permanently removes the files and there is no way to recover lost data unless you contact your System Administrator to restore them from the last server backup.


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Program Control Panel
Upon successful installation of the program , click on the link provided or point your browser to the _admin.cgi file.

      Eg. ""

Login using the Username and Password you entered during setup. Once logged in you will see two rows of Controls or "Buttons", as shown below.

Control Panel Screenshot Figure 2 : Control Panel Screenshot

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Once logged into the administration section the Summary Screen will present you with the number of current and archived payments that have been stored on the server. Simply click on the number or the buttons in the control panel to view the full details of submissions.

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Change Pass
Next is the Change Pass button. This will change the password for the main administrative user of the program. Remember what your minimum password character requirement is. If you don't have at least that many characters , the program repeats your username and/or password. "mypass" becomes "mypassmypass". If your not careful, you will lock yourself out of the program! The program ships with a default minimum of six characters.

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Program Configuration Settings
The third standard administrative button is Settings. This is where you change the program configuration settings and aesthetical appearence of the public side of your web site, see figure 1. There are several options on the Settings page. Some are optional , some are required. Most are equipped with an alert message that pops up when the option name is clicked. The alert message will describe in detail what the selected option is used for. The required parameters must be correctly filled in for the program to function properly. Once you have selected/entered your settings , press the "Update Configurations" button at the bottom of the page . You can at any time restore the original default settings by pressing the "Click here to restore the default settings" link located at the top of the page.

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Click this Button to view the front end ( the section visible to the public ) of your web site. This will show you your web form. Number of invoices and aesthetical appearence is created and controlled by the "Settings" page of the administration section.

Web Form Screenshot
Figure 3 : Web Form Screenshot

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Payment Screen

Submission Screenshot
Figure 4 : Submission Screenshot

From the Payment Screen you have three options for each submission, each option is described below. Keep in mind, you may choose to select any of the options on multiple submissions, simultaneously.

Place a tick in the checkbox for each submission you would like to delete. Deleted items, will be permanently removed from the system.

Entries you have chosen to archive will be moved to the Archives folder. From the Archives page, you can similarly delete or forward submissions.Deleting submissions from the Archives page will also permanently remove submissions from the server.

Place a tick in the checkbox labelled "Forward", for each submission you would like to forward. Forwarded items remain in the same folder ( current or archived ) but have a mark letting you know that these items have indeed been forwarded. See figure 4 above . Below is a screen shot of the Mailing screen ( figure 5 below ). You must enter your email address, the email address of the the person to receive the message and any extra comments you would like to add in the message box. Press the button labelled "Send Mail Now" when you have filled in the information.

Forwarding screen
Figure 5 : Mailing Screenshot

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See Payment Screen above

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The final button of the top row is "Exit". This will log you out of the administrative program. Once you are logged out, no program functions are accessible until you log back into the program.

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Users Guide
This tutorial. We store a copy of this tutorial on our server so that we may easily update it for all users of the program. This will allow you to obtain the latest information, any bugs that may have been reported and knowledge of any new versions that may be available. Simply click the Users Guide button to load the most up to date version of the guide.

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While traversing this program, keep an eye out for Dark Gray colored links. These links, yielding immediate results, usually contain useful, timesaving tips.

Each time you execute a function ( usually accomplished by submitting forms or pressing Gray colored rectangular buttons ), take note of the WARN messages displayed on the following page. WARN messages let you know whether the task was completed successfully or not.

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Why is the credit card type showing up in submissions not the one selected from the Web Form?
This is because you have entered the wrong image in the wrong field from the "Admin Settings" Page. Each image field is named and the path must point to the correct image on your server.

In what order are the CC images sorted?

I no longer accept a certain Credit Card, how do I remove it from the form?
From the "Admin Settings" page , remove the path to the image.

I 've done that but all I see now is a broken graphic, whats going on?
Make sure you have no spaces or characters in the image path field.

I would like a more customized submission form, how do I have this done?
Please contact us, if you would like to have this free program customized, asking for our current hourly rate.

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There are a few important security aspects to keep in mind.

1. Make sure your $DataKey variable is a completely random sequence of characters. Do not make it a real word and do not make your Postal Code/ZIP Code or phone number part of it.

2. This program only supports one main administrative user. Do not give out your administrative User Name and Password unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to give it out to someone, change these as soon as that person is finished working with it.

3. Change your User Name and Password every four to six months.

4. Select a User Name and Password that is easy for you to remember but hard for someone else to guess. User Names and Passwords that are longer, are harder to guess. We recommend ten characters for User Names and Password.

5. Whenever this program creates a sub-directory, it creates and index.html document that displays an un-authorized access message. This is utilized in case someone stumbles across the directory name. This way your server will not be able to list the contents of that directory. If your main directory document is named something other than index.html, you will have to FTP into the data directories and manually rename these documents.

6. Your programs administrative password is encrypted. Therefore you can not retrieve it. If you forget the administrative password you will have to run the set up routine again. Running the set up routine again will let you set up a new password but it will also erase all your configuration settings.

7. Unlike most CGI programs available on the web, this program utilizes a back-up and restoration set of utility on all data files. This reduces the likely hood of files being erased by a large number of hits at the same time. In the very unlikely event that this does occur, please contact us

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Support Information
If you are unable to set up this program or are uncomfortable setting up the program then please contact our support department via the Script Centre pages at Installation FAQ

We offer an installation service for a small fee, details of which are available at the support centre. Note that due to the unpredictable nature of NT and Mac servers, we do not offer support or installation services for programs being installed on these types of servers. This program was written for a UNIX server.

If you do not receive a response from our support centre within 24 hours, please contact us

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