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Monday, September 10. 2007
Posted by Neil Williams in Debian
Defined tags for this entry: Debian
Homebank has had a few problems getting through NEW due to legacy problems from the original Amiga version (and it isn't ready yet) but I've been trying it out anyway and comparing to gnucash. Bearing in mind that I have done upstream work in gnucash (i.e. I like gnucash enough to tackle the massively scary gnucash source code) and have (almost) got used to the regular dependency hell that it imposes on my sid installation, I'm finding homebank quite friendly.
(See #441110, #441103, #441129 and #441363 for recent examples of gnucash causing dependency hell - again.)
(1:0 to Homebank).
Homebank is closer to the Quicken model with categories but internal transfers between accounts are supported to give some impression of double-entry. (1:1) My main interest is in data import/export because I've long been looking for a way to create invoices from PIM data e.g. in a Palm Pilot or similar. Homebank supports a CSV data import for data that can be handled as an invoice. OK, there's no fancy invoice printing but that doesn't bother me (I never used the gnucash invoice print support) (2:1 to Homebank) - my invoices are all electronic and I have to use the client system (MSDOS!). What I need is to create my own records of the invoices within my financial accounts and Homebank may be able to do that with far greater ease than gnucash. My data exists primarily in my Palm because I take and change my bookings on-the-move. I want to be able to HotSync my Palm through a query interface (pilot-qof) and XSL (datafreedom-qsfxsl) direct into a financial application that can correlate that data with the payments made into my bank by the client and thence with data from my bank statements to prepare data suitable for my tax report.
I'm thinking that if I can get half of the ease-of-use of Homebank into the rigorous double-entry support of gnucash in a small program (gpe-cash), I'll be doing very well.
One limitation of Homebank is the "wording" - the translations appear awkward and unfamiliar but that can be easily fixed. The link between "Archives" and "automated transactions" isn't clear - I think it means "templates" and "scheduled transactions". (2:2)
Homebank can't do all the things that gnucash can do but that is a weakness in gnucash, not homebank. (3:2 to Homebank) IMNSHO, GnuCash tries to do too much and that leads to an oversized and overly complex codebase as well as a dependency list that puts OOo to shame. The graph support in homebank is a lot better than gnucash and that is not the fault of libgoffice, it is entirely down to the choices made by gnucash upstream developers. Homebank graphs are fast, simple, intuitive and informative, displaying useful info at the first attempt instead of having to wade through the Options dialogue in gnucash. (4:2 to Homebank).
If I can work out some simple scripting that combines these external tools into 'HomeOffice' support in Homebank, everyone wins.
I've never liked CSV as a data format and the homebank main files are XML (like gnucash). Unlike gnucash, the XML appears sane and usable for XSLT - raising the prospect of creating reports directly from the homebank data files.
Homebank upstream have been very supportive of the various requests to assist getting Homebank through NEW so I'm hopeful that if an XML import/export method was proposed it could be included in future - especially if the donkey work is done by external tools.
This would tie in well with datafreedom-qsfxsl and datafreedom-perl. Initially, I'll look at XML->CSV - ugly, I know but at least Homebank can import data to be used as invoices; gnucash cannot. (5:2 to Homebank).
At the end of round one:
Homebank : 5 GnuCash: 2.
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The biggest thing I looked for in an alternative is QFX/OFX support (I'm a former Quicken addict). This is something that gnucash provides. I'll admit I'm still a little bleary-eyed, but I didn't notice any comments on testing this -- do you happen to do OFX/QFX imports?
Homebank does support OFX (using the same library as gnucash uses) but I am unable to test it as I have no OFX data.
I've been using HomeBank for about 6 months, and I can tell it's easy to understand and it delivers excellent information (graphics and such).
I was hoping GNUCash to be more than HomeBank is (GNU renown maybe) but the only thing I liked of it, was the tab interface. HomeBank has this awful "popup" interface that I hate.
But csv import/export is a must. it's not the ultimate format, but it provides excelent portability (export for spreadsheets it's a child's game with csv)
I do great amount of work in spreadsheets with my accounts and HomeBank gives me that.
In fact, my test of GNUCash was abruptly interrupted by the absence of csv import (i wanted to migrate my data from homebank).
well, in my laptop: HomeBank stays, GNUCash it's leaving.
(if my English is bad, that's because i natively speak Spanish)
Homebank looks nice. Is there a way to import data from Gnucash into Homebank?
> import data from gnucash into homebank
No. At least, not yet.