question about importing .qif files

Richard Wackerbarth
Fri, 21 Jul 2000 10:32:23 -0500

On Fri, 21 Jul 2000, James A. Treacy wrote:
> At a minimum, could the importer be modified so that you can select which
> field is used to select accounts when importing, e.g. the Memo field
> instead of the category (L in .qif)? When importing data from my bank, all
> the transactions appear to come from a single, blank category. This means
> all transactions need to be dumped into a single account and then manually
> moved around. Using the Memo field would allow most of the entries to be
> automatically placed in the proper place.

Could? yes. Should? I'll argue no. The problem is really that the bank does 
not create an appropriate QIF file. Rather than attempt to make a generalized 
translation widget that does everything for everybody, I think we should look 
to customized preprocessors that each handle one particular format and 
translate it into a consistent format for importing. It is MUCH more 
difficult to attempt to process many variations than it is to write many 
specialized translators. From the user's perspective, once he knows which 
preprocessor to use for a particular source, he can direct us to it 
(hopefully through stored preferences) and we can "do the right thing".

Such a scheme is certainly easier to maintain because you don't have to 
comingle old, already working, code with new warts to handle the inevitable 
new input source. As a user, it is highly unlikely that I will be interested 
in all the formats used by some German bank and that used by one in France 
and that of the local S&L here in Texas.

Frankly, I am waiting for the new "text" format. Once we have it, I'll 
advocate stripping the QIF importer out of Gnucash proper and changing it 
into a reformatter that translates from QIF to "gnucash text". This 
translation step should be combined with appropriate additional commands to 
form part of an extensible user menu for acquiring additional data.