Price Editor vs Security Editor

Geert Janssens janssens-geert at
Fri Oct 15 09:25:03 EDT 2010

On Friday 15 October 2010, John Ralls wrote:
> On Oct 14, 2010, at 1:37 PM, Geert Janssens wrote:
> > GnuCash has both a price editor and a security editor.
> >
> > The distinction between these two is not so clear to me. I can see that
> > the security editor doesn't allow to enter exchange rates between
> > currencies. The price editor is currently required for that.
> >
> > On the other hand, you can use the price editor to enter stock quotes,
> > although not really as flexibly as in the security editor.
> >
> > This is confusing (from a user's point of view). So what's the story ?
Thanks for the explanation, John. It certainly helps tying the pieces 

> Why is it confusing?
In afterthought I think I found it confusing because there is no clear visual 
link between the two.

In my naive way of using the tools, I would go to the price editor, click the 
Add button, and see a list of namespaces. It didn't occur to me that only the 
Currencies namespace has some predefined "securities". To get a price for 
another security I'd have to first go to the Securities editor, set up a new 
security and then add a price quote in the Price editor.

It would have been more intuitive to have a "Add new security" button inside 
the New Price dialog.

Perhaps I'll add one.

> You can't enter prices in the security editor.
I finally understood this.

> The security editor is for creating new securities or for editing the less
>  mutable values, like the stock symbol or the company's name. AFAIK, and I
>  think unfortunately, there isn't an automatic way to do that. (It would be
>  nice to be able to just enter a symbol and have a helper program go get
>  the details from Yahoo! or someplace similar instead of having to fill in
>  the form.)
Would indeed be a nice to have.

> The price editor lets one record a security's price for a certain date;
>  this can be done manually or automatically via Finance::Quote. (To be
>  absolutely correct, it should collect the time as well as the date --  bid
>  and asked prices are valid only at a given moment, not for a whole day.)
>  One could have thousands of quotes for a security over several years. It's
>  not terribly useful for accounting, of course, where only the buy and sell
>  prices really matter (with occasional exceptions, like price on the date
>  of death for an estate). I suspect it's there mostly because people want
>  to know what their portfolios are worth rather more often than they
>  actually trade securities.
> If you think of currencies other than the default as securities, then the
>  exchange rates for that other currency is just a funny name for its price.
>  There being a market in currencies, the price changes every time there's a
>  trade, just like stocks and bonds. Currency exchange rates matter rather
>  more for a lot of accounting purposes than do stock prices, though. One
>  can envision having multiple transactions in a single day (invoices,
>  credit card purchases, any number of things) all of which may have
>  different exchange rates for a variety of reasons. It doesn't appear to me
>  that the price editor isn't going to do a good job of keeping track of
>  that, but I haven't studied the code so I might be wrong about that.
I found that while the price editor only shows the date, internally the time 
is saved as well, so in principle you could use the price editor to handle 
multiple prices on the same day. The gui just doesn't show it, which makes it 
a bit difficult to guess.


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