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Introducing CashForward

Posted by wsnyder6 on May 18, 2008 at 6:58 PM PDT

In the coming months I'll be putting together a NetBeans based application for tracking household income and expenses. The primary audience are those who are new to budgeting software, or those who want a money management application that does the basic tasks, and does them well. (Oh, and is free and works on Windows, Linux, or a Mac.)

Motivating Features


Ease of Use

I've found personal finance tools something I couldn't possible live without. The ability to see my financial state, or cashflow, at a glance is priceless. It's my hope that this project to be one that focuses heavily on usability and ease of use. I believe that is one reason why many folks avoid cash management software.

Scenarios

Life (read: income and expenses) certainly does not follow a straight path, and in my household we find the ability to create various 'spending plans' a necessity. Really for two reasons - to compare the plan's outcomes over time - and to 'version' our plan so that we can revert back to it if possible.

For example, how does my future cash flow look if I need to increase my fuel budget $100 vs $300 per month. We tweak our budget frequently and need to compare these scenarios graphically.

Maybe this doesn't sound that exciting, maybe you already use software that you love. Maybe you have ideas of things you would like to see in money management software. In any case, I'd like to hear from you. You can post questions and comments in the forums at
http://groups.google.com/group/cashforward.

There is nothing to look at quite yet; but as the project progresses toward an August beta, the state of the project can be found at http://code.google.com/p/cashfoward

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Comments

See you later on http://platformx.netbeans.org/servlets/ProjectMailingListList ;-)

fabriziogiudici, platformx is a great idea. I certainly hope there is some fall off from CashForward. BTW, which platformx mailing list is the best one to join at this point?

wsnyder6, I'm really looking forward to your project, and hope I can provide help for what I can, also because you're raising / exploring some of interesting problems:

1. of course, the development of a desktop application that is useful for a broad target. We need a lot of them and I'd love to see people working on other things, such as iTunes clones, etc..

2. NetBeans RCP is an excellent foundation, but of course there are always missing parts and rough corners. Recently Wade Chandler, Tom Wheeler, Tim Boudreau, others and me have just incepted a new project, PlatformX (http://platformx.netbeans.org), that is aimed in filling those gaps, starting from people's experience in writing real applications. It would be great if you joined there, even only for provide feedback - even better if you found useful some component or maybe have some Cashforward fall off.

3. And of course, even the interaction between JavaFX and a NetBeans RCP application is rich of potential, and we have to find huge amounts of things here, from idioms to the process itself.

Yes, I had started a prototype in javafx. However, Netbeans will offer a more stable framework for building the application. Not to mention great tooling for rapid development. But I see no reason why javafx could not be used to build out the interface for forms and graphs. However, the first release will use Swing components - relying alot on JFreeChart and JIDE .

I'm very interested in how this turns out. I think fabrizio has proven that you can write a great application on top of netbeans. I need a good personal finance tool, and it sounds like you have some good ideas. I love the idea of building it on top of netbeans.

In your previous blog entry, you mentioned a JavaFX project that sounds somewhat similar to this. What made you decide to use netbeans? I like the decision, I'm just curious.

Thanks iphillips. I corrected the link.
Appreciate the congrats, fabriziogiudici. I may be asking you questions once in a while, as you have done a very nice job with blueMarine :).

Glad to hear about that and congratulations for the grant. I'm pretty interested in this project both as a NetBeans RCP developer and as a potential user, as I'm still using Microsoft Money on Windows via Parallel (the only "production" application that I couldn't migrate to Mac OS X).

A small typo: you've missed the 'r' out of the Google code URL.