Goldenseal Pro Progress Report (Apr 12)

Goldenseal Pro accounting software is now in the testing and completion phase. The interface is mostly set up, but there are many small details left to finish. Basically, our staff tries everything with the Sample Company File until it gives an error message or doesn’t work right. We fix it, and repeat. Most of our time will be spent doing that, from now until the final release.

For construction projects, there’s usually a “punch list” phase near the end. It starts with a site inspection, where you/the client/the architect writes up a list of problems to fix. Then, you fix them and take them off the list. Software is harder to inspect, so its development goes differently. Right now it’s more like checking each wall in a remodeling project, to see if everything is trimmed and painted. If not, time to finish it.

Some problems take a few minutes to solve, while others take hours. Rarely they take days, if the code needs serious refactoring or rewriting. The fixes probably average out to 3o minutes or an hour apiece. As a wild guess, there may be 500 or 1000 little details still to finish. Multiplying a guess by a guess gives a total that is about what the estimating spreadsheet says (it predicts completion in October).

As we update Goldenseal’s code, we are finding many places where it jumps through hoops in order to conserve memory, or give results a bit faster. Goldenseal was originally built for machines with 4 megabytes of RAM, and processors in the 16 megahertz range. It took some effort to get good performance with that hardware.

Modern computer have 1000x the RAM capacity and 100x faster processors. That means we can rewrite some things to have simpler code, and still perform well. Simpler code means easier maintenance, and less chance of mystery bugs. When a chunk of code needs rewriting anyhow to fit in with Cocoa, we refactor it now. Some things get flagged for later.  Sometimes it’s a judgement call between “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, and “do it right”.

At the moment, our staff is still working on bank transactions, but they are almost done. Goldenseal Pro has one little improvement: you can now have transactions for multiple bank accounts open at the same time, and switch between them easily. It actually makes the code simpler than our current approach of closing the window, and then reopening it with a different account.

Dennis Kolva
Programming Director



Author: Dennis Kolva

Programming Director for Turtle Creek Software. Design & planning of accounting and estimating software.