Keep Track of Your Money
The next application I tried was jGnash, a Java archive. jGnash requires JDK1.3 or higher, but luckily my test machine already was equipped with a working Java installation because my husband needed it for one of his projects. And the application comes with sources, so I thought, "Why not?" The program came with the simple explanation:
To execute: java -jar jgnash_0.2.jar
To extract source: jar xvf jgnash_0.2.jar
Not that difficult, is it? So I entered the execute command and a whole bunch of error messages about fonts not being found scrolled over the screen. I thought, "There goes my luck", but then finally got an image after a while. After the initial shock of running my first Java application, I was pleasantly surprised at the speed and response time. Of course it doesn't integrate as nicely with my desktop environment as a GNOME-based program, but on the other hand, jGnash is cross-platform (see Figure 5).
jGnash also supports hierarchical accounts, credit and debit accounts, sets up a Bank Account, and an Expense and Income Account by default. Transfers can be entered in a simple, clear way, and they can be split. They also can be imported from a QIF file. However, one of my problems, as a European, is that only Australian, Canadian and US dollars are available as currencies for my account.
There's a straightforward register (see Figure 6), and that's about it for the tour of jGnash. It runs fine, but I won't be using it.
QHacc comes in a tarball with adequate documentation. Installation uses the well-known configure-make-make install method; I only had to set the QTDIR environment variable to my Qt installation, which resides in /usr/lib/qt-2.3.1, and the installation went fine.
To run the program, you either need to set the QHACC_HOME variable (e.g., to your home directory) or enter it as an argument on the command line (qhacc -f ~).
My first impression was one of sympathy because of the plain look and feel of this program. Also, the fact that the QHacc developers were obviously thinking ahead when they implemented the possibility for input of old transactions was encouraging, what with me knowing nothing other than text files until now.
QHacc supports single- and double-entry bookkeeping, and it gives detailed account information. It is independent of the user's local currency, which is, as far as I'm concerned, a good thing (see Figure 7).
The user interface is very simple, but well-designed where the graphics and reports are concerned. I am delighted with the way the graphics are presented; I've included a screenshot, not because I want you to see how hard I've worked entering two transactions, but because it's done so charmingly (see Figure 8). You can change the account, the dates and the image representing the data in real time, and it's in soothing pastel colors, in case your debits should depress you too much. QHacc makes pie charts, line charts or charts with bars in the same pretty colors.
The reports are also very structured, clean and elegant, and they use the same real-time adaption scheme as the graphs. The author claims everything can be done without using the mouse, and although I too am more of a console creature than an X fan, I haven't tried it out. I've never been an MS Windows user either, so I probably wouldn't know the shortcuts anyway.