Sunday, September 20, 2009

wxBanker 0.6 preview available, now with recurring transactions!

I've just released wxBanker 0.5.9 in the wxbanker-testing PPA, which is a preview release for 0.6. If you aren't familiar with wxBanker already, it is a cross-platform, lightweight personal finance application, and you can find more info at

While there are many improvements and fixes in 0.6, the main feature is recurring transactions, allowing you to automate repetitive transactions. They are functional in 0.5.9 with one caveat and the purpose of this preview release: there's no way (besides sqlitebrowser :) to modify existing recurring transactions. As such I'd love to get feedback on your impressions of recurring transactions, ideas on a nice configuration UI for them, and of course general feedback. With this I can implement the configuration UI and release 0.6.

Here's an example of a simple quarterly transaction:

and here is a more complex one, with specific days chosen, as well as the transaction being a transfer from another account:

When you start up wxBanker and there is a recurring transaction due, you will see something like:

I didn't reinvent recurrence rules but instead (luckily) found the dateutil module for python which includes rrule, an "implementation of the recurrence rules documented in the iCalendar RFC", so it should behave quite well.

As far as the needed configuration UI goes, there are a couple ideas that I've had so far. Below is the current top-left portion of the UI, for reference:

One idea was to have a third "Recurring Transactions" tab after the "Transactions" and "Summary" tabs, which appears if and only if recurring transactions exist. This would provide a list of recurring transactions and allow editing them via the same UI used for creation, as well as changing the account or removing them altogether. A second idea is to add another button next to the Add/Rename/Remove account buttons in the upper-left, for account configuration (this will be necessary for future features anyway), and allow modifying recurring transactions for that account there.

Another perhaps complementary way would be to provide a right-click action on existing transactions which were recurred, for editing. I'd also like to implement functionality similar to Google Calendar where editing a value on an existing transaction caused by a recurring transaction will ask you if you want to apply that change to just this transaction, all existing, or all future.

If you have ideas, please feel free to leave comments here or drop by #wxbanker on any time this week after 10AM PDT, to have a more interactive chat about them.

Please do let me know what you think from either just the screenshots here or actually playing around with the application!

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