Report customization nightmare

Derek Atkins warlord at MIT.EDU
Wed Jun 30 12:38:11 EDT 2010

Mike Leone <turgon at> writes:

> On 6/29/2010 3:41 PM, Derek Atkins had this to say:
>> Mike Leone<turgon at>  writes:
>> Opinions are in high supply around here.  Solutions, not so much.  We
>> have what we have, for better or for worse.  Until someone comes up with
>> a new solution, or offers to provide the effort to create a new
>> solution, we're kinda stuck with what we have.  We ARE making
>> incremental improvements (e-guile, webkit/css) but a full-on
>> report-system replacement is a large piece of work.  Are YOU going to do
>> it?
> Not being a programmer ... no, I'm not. :-) As I said, I don't have a
> better solution. But that does not invalidate my (and just about every
> one else's, apparently) claim that what we have is not all that
> useful, for a (large?) segment of current users.

Really?  I'd like to see a list of necessary reports that GnuCash
doesn't already have.  As a non-programmer you should be able to help by
coming up with the set of requirements for included-reports.

>> The point of GnuCash is to provide an 85% solution..  It's not going to
>> supply 100% of everything that 100% of the users need.  Indeed, no
>> application can.  However it can certainly supply most of the needs to
>> most of the users.
> I wouldn't think that using guile to make custom reports is anywhere
> near an 85% solution. No offense.

None taken, but the average user shouldn't have to write a report.
GnuCash should supply the reports that the average user needs.  It
certainly provides 100% of the reporting that *I* need (and also 100% of
the reporting that my company needs to send to the accountant at the end
of the year).

You seem to be implying that absolutely anyone needs to be able to
create a report, and I HIGHLY disagree with that!  Only report-writers
need to be able to create reports.  We just need to make sure that the
existing reports are customizable sufficiently by the average user to
cover their needs.

>> In terms of reports, I would ask why all these so many users want to
>> write custom reports?  What's wrong with the existing reports that
>> already exist?
> Since many (most?) want to change them, then they must not be meeting
> the needs of many (most?) users. And without a solution that requires
> (possibly non-technical) users to learn a programming language to pull
> out something like just a specific subset of accounts, you won't
> really grow the user base beyond those technical types of users, who
> don't mind learning a programming language in order to run a summary
> report the way they want (that's just an example).

I would disagree about "most".  A vocal minority, perhaps.  There are
thousands of gnucash users out there.  I think maybe a couple dozen have
complained about reports.  That's certainly not "most".  It's arguable
if it's even "many", but I'll grant you the leeway to call it "many".

My point remains, tho, that the average user should not have to create a
custom report.  GnuCash should provide the reports that they need (at
least in SOME form -- it may not be 100% what they need, but as per your
previous example I don't care if the report has two lines that you don't
want -- you can learn to ignore them).

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       Derek Atkins, SB '93 MIT EE, SM '95 MIT Media Laboratory
       Member, MIT Student Information Processing Board  (SIPB)
       URL:    PP-ASEL-IA     N1NWH
       warlord at MIT.EDU                        PGP key available

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