Since Last Run dialog concerns

Tim Wunder tim at
Wed Jun 13 22:40:59 EDT 2007

I understand the desire for a simpler SLR dialog. The one in 2.0.x required 
navigating multiple pages of a druid in order to create transactions. But 
I've grown accustomed to its quirkiness, and find it far more usable than the 
new, simplified version currently in head.

First, I'll describe and comment on the SLR as it stands in 2.0.x:
The first page of the SLR druid in 2.0.x would be of "Transaction Reminders". 
It has a nice bold heading indicating that these are just reminders, with a 
good textual clarification, "The listed Scheduled Transaction are to-be 
created soon. Select any which you would like to create now, and 
click "Forward" to create them."
Listed would be the SX name, date, frequency, and days away.

The next page showed all the transation that would be Automatically created. 
It is boldly labeled "Auto-Created Transaction Notification" and displays as 
a register containing automatically created SX transactions. Marginally 
useful, but clear to the user.

The next page shows "To-Create Transaction Preparation." .
Granted there's a bit too much techno speak going on there, it might be better 
titled "Pending Transactions." It contains a list of transactions that will 
be created, but may require additional user interaction. It is also the point 
at which the user can change the "State" (perhaps "Status" would be a better 
term to use in that dialog, but I digress). I can change the State (or 
status) of the SX from "Ready to create" to "Ignore" or "Postpone." I've used 
this page frequently when I want to just process those transactions I do via 
on line bill pay and to postpone those transactions that require me to write 
an actual check. Change the status on a couple of SXs and click Forward to 
process the remaining.

The next page depends on whether there are any SXs with variables or not. If 
there are variables that require input, then the user is presented with a 
variable entry dialog.

After all the variables are entered, and all the SXs are ready to create, the 
next page provides the user with a final review of the transactions to be 
created. That dialog is clearly labeled "Created Transaction Review."

And finally the user is presented with a "Press Apply to  create these 
transactions" page, where the user could cancel out of everything, or press 
Apply to commit the entrries.

Now you might say that's a lot of dialogs to force a user through just to 
create some SXs, but the dialogs are clear, well labeled, and logical. 

Now I'll describe the new diaog, and why I don't particularly care for it (and 
maybe some ways to improve it):
When starting the SLR, the user is presented with a single window 
titled "Since Last Run". There's no bold name of the window, there's no 
description of what the window is for. It's just a window containing what 
appears to be every transaction reminder and every transaction ready to be 

Well, I don't want to see the reminders interspersed in with the SXs that are 
ready to be created. I liked how the 2.0.x SLR separates the two. Maybe a 
compromise would be to provide a button to hide or show the reminders. By 
default, hide the reminders. If the user clicks  the "Show Reminders" button, 
then display the transaction reminders and change the button to "Hide 

I also don't like how I have to click and hold the Instance State in order to 
select another Instance State for an SX. Let me click, let go and then select 
a new state.

Additionally, I don't like it displaying SXs that are neither reminders nor 
ready to be created. It clutters the dialog and causes confusion.

The headings of the dialog are too techno-speak. Instead of "SX, Instance, 
Variable" something like "Transaction" would be better. Instead of "Instance 
State" I'd prefer "Status."  Instead of "Variable Value" use "Value" 
or "Amount." And if it is a variable, show it as (need value), if not, 
display an amount. Perhaps the amount on the first line of the SX. Maybe even 
add an account name to the dialog. Perhaps the account displayed could be 
specified in the SX itself, in the template transaction dialog by adding a 
display tag. Each line item on the template transaction could have a checkbox 
for displaying in the SLR. But I'd prefer to see something like

Transaction		Status			Amount	Account
	6/20/07		To be created	$1000	Income:Salary

Instead of the arrow thingy that lets the user expand the SX instances, why 
not just show the SX names in Bold and list the instances below, in a 
semi-outline kind of fashion? The usefulness of being able to expand or 
contract the instances of an SX escapes me, but I think there would be an 
appearance and readability benefit from making the SX names bold.

Regardless, the display of the SXs in the SLR could be made so much more user 
friendly, IMO.

I'll admit that as I looked at the new SLR in a bit more detail tonight, I see 
where it could be an improvement over the old SLR. But as it stands now, I 
certainly prefer the old SLR to the new.


Fedora Core release 6 (Zod), Linux 2.6.20-1.2952.fc6
KDE: 3.5.6-4.fc6
 21:40:01 up 13 days, 13:47,  1 user,  load average: 0.25, 0.17, 0.12
"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts" John Wooden
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