The Gnucash database?

Vasil Vasilev vasil-gnucash at
Mon Jul 19 05:43:17 EDT 2004

On Sun, 18 Jul 2004, blfs wrote:

>>>>> So why is it not possible to import text data?
> It would seem to me that the most natural way to write
> Gnucash would be to write it for a flat text file in the Unix
> tradition.  If it is not trivial to translate a flat text file to
> the format required for Gnucash that is a rather serious
> design flaw.  I can certainly load a flat text file into any
> database I know of with relative ease.

Gnucash isn't exactly a database, even if you can view it as one it is tables 
plus lots of significant links between them. You can load a text file into a 
table in a database, but you can't automatically create the links with other 
tables unless you know what the file is about.

Also, loading a flat text file into a table in a database isn't fully 
automatic, you have lots of assumptions and you need to tell the converter 
some more.

Gnucash != Registers displayed != Database Tables.

> I must be missing something here.

Text is two-dimensional, gnucash isn't.

I've been wanting to imprort text for a long time now but how do you 
interpret it? The only thing I can think of is to regard an imported file as a 
register of simple split transactions. However, you need to change your text 
file to match these specifications. As soon as you hit something slightly more 
complicated you need lots of exceptions. Then, what do you do with the double 
accounting? Do you import each register and then have double the transactions 
and clean them later?

Another way is record transactions one by one, which as far as I can tell is 
what QIF and OFX are.

The bottom line is you need to translate your assumptions in the way you 
formatted the text file into Gnucash's format of keeping the data, 
automaticly or not. There is no one fill all solution here and that's the 

I am sure I can give you a text file which you won't be able to import it into 
a database the way I wanted it, so you will fail the import, especially if 
you need to import the random format file in an existing table. Same is with 

My 2p. Hope this helps.


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