Finally, a post that doesn’t have a turquoise title bar. In the early days of this blog, they were more the exception than the rule.
I’ve undertaken a new software project, intended to replace the Numbers spreadsheet Lisa and I have been using to track our expenses. I’m calling it “Means”. Edit: It was later renamed “Budget Machine”.
Of course, there are plenty of finance apps out there, but none of them seemed to fit the way we’re used to doing things. For one thing, we’ve focused more on tracking expenses and budgeting. Most apps out there are about managing accounts - syncing with online banking info, balancing checkbooks, and so forth. It’s kind of a subtle difference, but I don’t want to be forced into another way of doing things, or awkwardly use a tool for something it wasn’t quite intended for.
So these are the goals I have in mind:
- A database of expenses, covering all our checking, savings, and credit card accounts
- Assign expenses to categories (health, groceries, etc.), as well as arbitrary tags like “Italy trip” so we can easily see how much certain events and projects are costing.
- Display live charts & graphs according to the current view or selection (I’ve found a good library for that)
- Make it easy to search by various things - date, category, etc.
This will be my first real adventure in Core Data programming (that’s a framework Apple has produced to make it easy to write applications that deal with lots of data objects). It’s also one of the few attempts I’ve made at Cocoa programming. It occurred to me recently that I’ve only written Cocoa applications as hobby projects, and professionally I’ve only done bits of Cocoa inside Carbon apps.
There will be a question of what to do with it when it’s done. Shareware? Open source? Just keep it for Lisa & me? On the other hand, given the amount of free time I have these days, I’m not taking it for granted if or when I’ll finish. I’m in it for the experience as much as anything.