Goldenseal Pro Progress Report (Apr 23)

Our staff is making steady progress on the Mac version of Goldenseal Pro.

The Reconcile command is now functional, with a table that shows a list of unreconciled bank transactions. As usual, it was a struggle to get the table working properly. The NSTableView class does not forgive small errors. Fortunately, we can duplicate it for Pay Bills, Write Payroll, and a few other commands, so they will go much faster. Even better, it’s the last type of table that’s needed for Goldenseal Pro.

We tested the Reconcile command with our TurtleSoft bank account. It has over 10,000 transactions, which take almost a minute to process. First thing we did was to rewrite the search code. Now it eliminates most records quickly, and only takes a few seconds.

During the test, there were a few database error messages. Not unexpected, since this is the “shakeout cruise” to find problems.

Goldenseal uses a record cache to manage how long data sticks around in RAM. It helps to give good performance, without consuming a lot of memory. The new version has been working pretty well, but the test gave a couple of obscure cache error messages. We figured out why, and fixed it. The fix made things worse. Fixing those was even worse: crashing instead of error messages. For a while it felt like an episode of House MD, with the patient gradually dying from some unknown, obscure disease. Fortunately, after an overhaul of the way we create records, the record cache is finally cured. Just like House MD.

There also were serious errors in a few of the bank transactions. Most likely, we missed some data structures that need revising for 64-bit. Having a partly-defective file is a good opportunity to soup up the Verify File command, so our staff is working on that now. The goal is to get a more detailed problem report, so we know exactly what to fix. Kinda like building an MRI machine for files.

Along the way, we have been fiddling with custom fields, pasted-in images and a few other details. Most of the work is in familiar code, so it’s much more pleasant than working with the Cocoa library.

Dennis Kolva
Programming Director


Goldenseal Pro Progress Report (Apr 5)

We are starting to use our own data to test Goldenseal Pro accounting software. There’s lots of small stuff to do, to get it ready for running TurtleSoft.

First step was the sign-on dialog. It’s now a bit better than the current version, with an option to view or hide the password as you type it.

Ever since we switched to Apple’s most recent memory management system, the main window has crashed randomly after switching tabs. We finally narrowed it down to one line of code, but were still baffled. Something was breaking that never should have. It finally turned out to be an old Apple bug in the NSTabView class. We posted details to the Cocoa developer list, and folks gave some suggestions that eventually led to a work-around. Tabs are working properly again. We switched them to newer Apple code, so they even have niftier animation now.

There have been database errors in bank accounts that were converted from old format to new. Duplicate ID numbers. The whole system to give record IDs has always been a problem, ever since Goldenseal 1.0. Its code is confusing. Bug fixes over the years have only made it more confusing. So, we tossed it all and rewrote everything from scratch. It’s simpler now, and will be much easier to maintain.  Software design is much easier after you’ve made every possible mistake already.

We are also about half-way through the Reconcile command. That uses a table. They have been the hardest programming problem so far, in the Mac update. Fortunately, several types of tables are now working, so we can duplicate that code. Our staff futzed around with tables all Winter, but they will go faster now.

I’m not even going to try to estimate completion. Our staff will be finishing features and fixing bugs until it’s done.

Dennis Kolva
Programming Director