[GNC-dev] New Account Hierarchy Setup Assistant Questions

Adrien Monteleone adrien.monteleone at lusfiber.net
Wed Sep 12 12:11:05 EDT 2018


Maybe the place to discuss these settings *is* right up front when explaining the setup? (though I agree, the assistant itself should walk the user through the selection with more information)


> On Sep 12, 2018, at 11:01 AM, David T. via gnucash-devel <gnucash-devel at gnucash.org> wrote:
>> On Sep 12, 2018, at 11:19 AM, Geert Janssens <geert.gnucash at kobaltwit.be> wrote:
>> Op woensdag 12 september 2018 16:38:42 CEST schreef David T. via gnucash-
>> devel:
>>> 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.
> I am sure you understand that my observations are meant as supporting elements for my proposal, not edicts from the docs writer.
>>> 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 ?
> But the question remains: does a new user (who won’t know what this means or signifies) need to make this decision at this point? 
> Or, to put it another way, if a user accepts the default setting, will they be unable to change it at a later point*? 
>> 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.
> But the same question holds: does a new user need to make this decision at this point? 
> Again, if a user accepts the default setting, will they be unable to change it at a later point*? 
> * Understand that the issue of _changing these settings back and forth_ should be discussed in the Guide at the spot where they are discussed in full—that is, in the proposed “Configuring GnuCash” chapter. 
> David
>> Geert
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