Things appear to have been pretty quiet round here for a while; the odd post here and there, with microupdates via Facebook. This does not mean I’ve been idle – in fact, I’ve been busier writing Open Source Software than ever.

Now it’s time to start publishing information, and, more importantly, code.

A couple of years ago, I had (and still have) a classic problem that Open Source alleges to solve. We use a piece of proprietary software. This is a very well-known application for managing home finances. We’ve upgraded this a couple of times, upgraded to Windows XP, and it still works very well. However the manufacturers announced in 2005 that they’d no longer be supporting the UK version. This leaves us with several problems. If our XP system needs reinstalling, we’d have to reinstall this application. Would the online activation still work? Would any updates still be available? If Microsoft shipped an update that unfortunately broke compatibility with this application, we’d also have problems. (To their credit, Microsoft are very good at maintaining backwards compatibility with older apps – at the expense of a clean operating system – and this works in the favour of end-users, not kernel developers. We have to be pragmatic: Who’s the customer?)

We could, of course, switch to another application. I was considering Microsoft Money, but now Microsoft have stopped producing this entirely. I looked at several Open Source home financial management packages, but for various reasons, didn’t take that investigation too far: lack of maturity, lack of cross-platform compatibility (the application we use is the last one tying us to Windows XP), ‘interesting’ user interfaces and feature sets. I suspect they’ve improved in the last couple of years – indeed, I notice some new ones have started.

Also in the last few years, the web has finally become viable as an application platform, although cross-browser problems are still there. See Bruce Eckel’s recent post about this. There are some online apps in this area, but I worry about security, connectivity and usability.

So I decided to scratch my itch, and write my own application. I like being creative!

Over the coming weeks, I’ll write about the development so far, and where I take it from here.

…to be continued.

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