[GNC-dev] New Account Hierarchy Setup Assistant Questions

Geert Janssens geert.gnucash at kobaltwit.be
Wed Sep 12 11:19:57 EDT 2018

Op woensdag 12 september 2018 16:38:42 CEST schreef David T. via gnucash-
> Hello,
> As I begin the process of migrating text from the Help to the Guide (cf. Bug
> 796855), I am working on the Help information regarding the New Account
> Hierarchy Setup (NAHS) assistant, and I have a couple of questions about
> the second screen of the assistant, the “New Book Options” screen.
> First off, while I respect the intent to allow users the option to set these
> preferences from the creation of their file, I wonder whether this is
> misguided. To wit: all of these options are quite technical in nature, and
> all of them can be set at a later point by opening the appropriate
> preferences. Adding these options here adds complexity that can easily be
> deferred to a later point. While it is true that this assistant runs
> whenever a user chooses File->New (meaning that an experienced user might
> wish to add these settings from the assistant), I am willing to hazard a
> guess that most users will invoke this assistant *only* when they first
> start using GnuCash, and *only* when their heads are already swimming with
> the overwhelming experience that is GnuCash. Asking a new user to choose
> whether to use Trading Accounts or to Use Split Action Field for Number is
> IMHO pointless. They aren’t going to be able to make an informed decision.
> <aside>I’ll note that this becomes an obvious issue when I attempt to write
> the help section for the screen. I am left either with writing a huge
> explanatory section on the details of each of these settings, which
> detracts from the flow of the NAHS narrative, or with adding a generic note
> that advises users to accept the defaults and read about the details in
> other sections of the Guide.</aside>

So now the challenge of writing documentation will be shaping the functioning 
of the application ? ;p

More seriously, your point is well taken, though I don't know the best answer.

> So, for the new user, the only real effect of this screen is to introduce
> confusion and questions. Can it be removed from the assistant?
> Related to this screen, my second question has to do with the “Use Trading
> Accounts” setting. Can it be turned off once it has been enabled in a given
> GnuCash file?
> ISTR that this option is a one-way street—i.e., that, once turned on, it can
> not be turned off again. Is this still the case? If it is still true, then
> I would strongly suggest that this option shouldn’t be placed on the NAHS
> Assistant, since a new user won’t be aware of this.

My memory is failing me. I remember these options got introduced in the new 
book dialog for a specific reason. Something had to be decided at the start of 
a new book. But for the life of me I don't remember what that was. Perhaps it 
was exactly the trading accounts ?

As for num-for-action I think you can indeed switch this on an existing book. 
However I'm not sure a user would want to do this: if the num field had been 
used for transaction numbers (for example copied from a bank statement) 
switching the number would suddenly move all of these to the split action 
field and hide them from the register. This is usually not what the user 
wants. So again this is an option that's better defined upfront to save the 
user lots of corrections afterwards.


More information about the gnucash-devel mailing list