[GNC-dev] Deprecation of XML file

Michael or Penny Novack stepbystepfarm at comcast.net
Mon Sep 14 10:46:30 EDT 2020

> Is there a reason to keep supporting the XML file in future? Wouldn't it be easier to force save the data to SQlite to tackle the move from QOF?
> The benefit of point in time save (instead of transactional save) could be achieved by working from a copy instead.
> Probable issue would arise from users that read the XML file directly.
Here's my two cents. And I am perhaps a good person to stick my nose in 
because of one of the issues raised.

No, keep XML.

a) A burden to require existing users to obtain and maintain SQLite.

b) Don't forget that some of us, quite properly, have long term backups 
of books << say the books after YE ab initio >> If gnucash were no 
longer to support XML, we wold have to convert all of those. And since 
the issue of "unalterable books" has been raised, I will point out that 
these backups might be considered so -- made onto "write once" medium 
and in "legal custody". Converting them to SQLite removes that guarantee 
<< how do you know that NOTHING else was done besides conversion, no 
alterations of data >>

c) The issue of those who manipulate the gnucash database (I am using in 
the generic sense) directly OR extract feeds from it OR send feeds to 
it. They would have to change all their stuff. And here's why I am an 
especially good person to respond. In my working days I have DIRECTLY 
modified an SQL database. Not SQLite but real SQL, DB2 on mainframe. Not 
going into why this done was beyond saying during testing a MAJOR change 
was made to a project, tables were added, and a need to populate the 
redefined database with test data << done the "right way", lots of 
people working many days entering one at a time from terminals -- even a 
batch DB2 process would have been slow >> The point here is that I was 
real sneaky. Out of the hundreds of IT people in this very large shop I 
was perhaps the only one who could have thought of the trick I used. So 
I would consider writing something to do this sort of thing way beyond 
reasonable for even very skilled end users.

Michael D Novack

PS: I might as well include a plus for SQLite at the same time. Probably 
much less skill required (once having learned SQLite) to query the 
database outside of gnucash. I would think that far easier than what I 
would have to do to write a program to query when a XML file.

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