QIF importer in 1.4.7 fails to detect duplicate transactions

Bill Gribble grib@billgribble.com
Wed, 1 Nov 2000 14:25:40 -0600

On Wed, Nov 01, 2000 at 01:56:53PM -0500, Derek Atkins wrote:
> Um, I think this may be a bug, and it certainly explains why things
> are failing for me.  The QIF names do NOT match across all my QIF
> files, because they all came from different sources. 

It's not a bug, but it is a sign of incompletion.  You are trying to
use the QIF importer in a way it was explicitly designed not to
address yet.  The main purpose of the QIF importer is to import a
user's records from Quicken; importing from on-line bank sources is
tougher, for the reasons you have discovered on your own.  

In general, you lose the ability to assume that a transaction you are
importing is not already in your records (you might have entered it
from a receipt or downloaded an overlapping segment), and so you have
to look not just in the QIF files you are importing but your entire
record database for duplicates if you want to do it right.

Dates can be fuzzy, transfers not to the right account/category names
or not there at all (my bank puts nothing in the QIF transfer/category
line, even for transfers between accounts in the bank), amounts are
possibly different (if you entered an amount off-by-a-penny by hand,
then imported it correctly from the bank).

All this means you need a more sophisticated matching/merging routine
with heuristics and user intervention.  It's (still) on my list to do.
I don't think it necessarily should be part of the QIF importer;
rather, I think it should be called by the QIF importer instead of the
current call to xaccMergeAccounts, and should probably have its own
dialog and windows; it will probably be useful for other stuff too
(any other importing or info-acquisition) since it will work with
weeding duplicates from gnucash pairs.

> Another idea... Perhaps we can add another step in the process, where
> "potentially duplicate" transactions are displayed and the user has
> the chance to mark them as duplicates or not?

Very similar to what I'm talking about.  I have some ideas about how
to do this dialog if you want to talk about getting started on it.

> How am I supposed to get various organizations to agree on what they
> call each other?

You can't, of course, and so you should import each one separately and
rely on the all-singing all-dancing merge dialog to find the dupes.
In the end, you are "supposed" to be doing this in separate import
sessions, since these files aren't a consistent set (i.e. exported en
masse from Quicken).