Home > Features > Account Tracker and auto-syncing

Account Tracker and auto-syncing

July 5, 2012

All of my apps support iCloud today, however this is really just a convenient way to share (backup) files between devices. With Account Tracker in particular, many of you want the ability to edit your data on whatever device you happen to pick up, and for all other devices to “see” those changes automatically. This all sounds simple of course, but it really is a VERY difficult problem to solve.

HOWEVER … I have now come up with a reasonably good design for this, based initially around iCloud. It will let you share your data between multiple devices (2 or more) linked to the same iCloud account, and your accounts and transactions will be synced automatically between them. I have already prototyped this solution, and it seems to work well.

I have just submitted version 3.8.2 to Apple, and this lays the groundwork for my syncing solution. This will be released as part of version 3.9, hopefully within the next month. Unless of course my wife drags me off on holiday … 🙂

UPDATE 1 (14 Aug): I did go on holiday (Munro bagging), and I watched the Olympics – sorry! The more I get into syncing, the more problems I am uncovering and its far from trivial!! Back on this full time now …

UPDATE 2 (28 Aug): please see my latest post about syncing.

  1. Aldo
    August 28, 2012 at 4:41 am

    Great program. Have used it for a couple of days and can see a great deal of uses. Thank you for taking the time to upgrade this app. I’m looking forward to the sync feature and any other updates you have planned. Thank you once again. :0)

  2. Nigel davies
    August 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    This will be brilliant when it comes out. Take the time to get it right! Good luck.

  3. Pugwash
    August 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Fantastic app, have been using it for a while now. Just done first backup to iPad which for some reason took me a while to do, also couldn’t do it via Bluetooth as iPhone an iPad couldn’t find each other. Looking forward to auto sync feature you are working on, this will really be of benefit.
    Thanks for a great app.

    • August 6, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      Hi, Bluetooth can be a bit hit and miss. Make sure you select Import on the receiving device, then on the sending device select a backup and choose Export.

      • Pugwash
        August 10, 2012 at 6:15 am

        Thanks Graham, Bluetooth syncing working perfectly every time now.

  4. Guy Ainsworth
    July 25, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Hello, the cheque number category when inputting transactions is most useful, however now onto a new chequebook with a new run of cheque numbers. But it still suggests the next cheque number of the old cheque book. Can’t find anywhere in settings to tell it to start a new run of cheque numbers. Thank you in anticipation of your help. Regards Guy

    • July 25, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      Hi Guy, the app assumes cheque numbers always increase, so there is no need to tell it to start a new run. It always looks for the highest number and adds one. I did have one report where a new cheque book had lower numbers, in that case just add a 1 on the front.

  5. Andy Lockwood
    July 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Graham,

    My wife and I have shared accounts and would like to manage these together – across devices. If its possible to define syncing accounts in the app rather than picking the default iCloud or Dropbox acc would that do it?

    • July 19, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      Hi Andy, no, I don’t support any automatic syncing just now. When I do it will initially be based on iCloud, which means it will only work if all of your devices are associated with the same iCloud account.

      • Nathan Ellsworth
        May 8, 2013 at 6:47 pm

        Does this rule out syncing AT between husband and wife? I am assuming it would be bad if I made our two iPads use the same iCloud account since then all our contacts, calendars, and other backups would also be mingled.

        Any advice in this?

        Thanks

        • May 8, 2013 at 7:17 pm

          Hi Nathan, I now support full syncing but it uses iCloud to pass data between devices. As you point out, iCloud is not designed to share data between multiple separate users, so this is not something I currently support. You can of course exchange backup files, but that would be a pain if you both wanted to update the database. At some stage I will support Dropbox as a sync solution, but I can’t say exactly when that might be.

  6. Alex
    July 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Hi Graham,
    You’ll be glad to hear I have now just got the paid version! The plan is for this app to replace an Excel workbook I created, and it does many things much better than that ever did, which is great. We used to forecast budget amounts per category on a monthly basis comparing income to spend, and then import the bank statement, categorise accordingly and compare forecast to actuals, maintaining the history. Your app doesn’t seem to allow me to work this way, as budgets are a fixed value for the chosen period per category. Instead I can forecast actual transactions, but then of course they have to be reconciled line by line.

    Don’t let me distract you from the iCloud sync, which will be fantastic, but it occurred to me that you were thereby also laying groundwork for a feature I’m eager to see, i.e. sync and reconciliation with imported online bank statements. I’ve got lots of ideas about how this could work, potentially some are relatively simple but perhaps effective to help meanwhile…

    E.g. If the app were registered as able to open .csv files on the iPad, then i could do my online banking as normal in Safari and then export transactions or a statement as .csv, which opens in Safari but the iPad would offer me to open in Account Tracker. If you were to add some functionality to prompt on opening such a file, perhaps showing the first line and asking the user to identify which account to use and how to match the columns to the fields (date, details, value +/-), defaulting categories to blank or ‘imported’ perhaps, then this would rejoin your existing app function for importing transactions.
    Later perhaps some of your sync code would help enable auto-matching to forecast transactions with some fuzzy logic on date, value and details to help with reconciliation, but meanwhile i could simply assign categories and delete duplicates instead.

    PS. Keen to try your hill walking app next time we head for the fells!

    • July 18, 2012 at 6:59 pm

      Hi Alex, yes there is a lot I could do to make it easier importing user-configurable CSV files rather than forcing people to use my format. I must admit to assuming most people would only ever do the import once!!

      • Julian
        August 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm

        I too would like to sync with an export of the info from my bank, and I’d do this at least monthly, so repeated imports is very likely for me.
        I’d also like the option to recognise And map import formats on the fly.

  7. Shari
    July 13, 2012 at 2:16 am

    To clarify my previous question, maybe you could advise specifically how I can import my file via dropbox… I can’t work this out, or maybe another solution? Thanks shari

  8. Gecko333
    July 5, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Great news Graham, but take your holiday & don’t anger your wife 😉 we can wait an other month too

  9. July 5, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Go on a holiday!!!

    • July 5, 2012 at 12:33 am

      🙂

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