Goldenseal Access from Anywhere

We just received this question by email, in response to the announcement for Goldenseal Pro:

Hi this is fascinating.  But are you ever going to build something that can be web hosted? I need a solution that I can use at two locations- working on files with my business partner.   –Pierre
I think it’s fair to say that almost all of our users want something similar.  We need something similar ourselves, to run our increasingly mobile software business!  However it’s a complicated topic, and probably should be split into 4 smaller questions:

  1. Where is the data stored?
  2. Where is the application that accesses it?
  3. What runs the user interface?
  4. How do the different devices communicate?
I’ll answer #1 now, and need to think a bit, for good answers for the others.

Our current model is to store your company data on your own, local hard drive.  It’s secure, convenient, and can be automatically backed up by the OS (Mac: Time Machine, Win: Control Panel -> Backup and Restore).  You can put a copy on your laptop, and access your data even where there is no phone or Internet connection.  Files are not very big, so it’s not a burden to store them.

Quickbooks Online offers a web interface and convenient storage of your data on their servers.  That approach is great for Intuit, since they kind of hold your data hostage.  It locks you into their service, and gives them a regular monthly income pretty much forever.  We have definitely considered doing something similar.

However, quite frankly, we don’t have the balls to go that route.  It would require a lot of web programming and interface compromises, and there are many, many security issues that we surely would not get completely right.  Web security is extremely hard.  Some day, Intuit will probably have a huge hacker breach and/or loss of many people’s data, but they are big enough to survive it.  We’re too small to take on that kind of risk and responsibility.

So, we will probably stick with our current model of local data storage.  Since most users do not host a website from a local computer, we can’t get that data into an http/website stream easily.  However, we already have multi-user code to share data on a local network, and just need to improve our VPN (Virtual Private Network) interface so you can connect securely over the Internet.

That’s one of many things we can do better after we get out of our old PowerPlant/Carbon/QuickTime code, and into modern frameworks.

Dennis Kolva
Programming Director
Turtle Creek Software

Author: Dennis Kolva

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