Cha-Ching to Quicken

I have been a user of Cha-Ching since the beta in April. It is a very shiny app for your finances. It is one of the new generation of slick OS X apps (like Delicious Library, Disco, and the rest) and takes a very Web-2.0-ish view of your data with tags and smart folders. It is a dream to use–to enter your data, to shuffle and tag things, etc. The problem comes when it is time to look at summaries. You can create an iTunes-like “smart folder” for each keyword (but you have to create each smart folder by hand.) That’s all you can do. No useful overall summaries, no summary by keyword, no tabular output, no charts and graphs, nothing.

I finally switched over to Quicken today, which was more of a pain than it should have been. The only way to get data out of Cha-Ching is via a custom CSV file. The only way to get data into Quick is the custom QIF format. After studying the arcane QIF format, whose format harkens back to the batch processing days of the 70’s, I was finally able to massage the comma-delimited format to the Quicken format. I’m sure a Perl wizard could have done it with a few lines of code. I played around with some RegEx’s in a shell script, decided that there were too many variants for a single RegEx to cover (sometimes fields are quoted, sometimes not, some numeric fields have commas as thousands separators, etc.) I finally wrote a short C app to do it.

After a few minor data deletion accidents, I finally have everything migrated and reconciled into Quicken. It’s a crappy app that feels very “Mac OS 9,” but it has the full set of features I need.

Posted in: Dear Diary

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