Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Expense Splitter…

…or ExpenSplit in short, has seen a major upgrade this year. It is such a major upgrade that it removes all the limitations that my Superpartner could point out all those years ago! These will be discussed as spacetime allows but first, first things first: The look of the program has more or less completely changed.

ExpenSplit - Main Screen

The top third now has not only the revamped data input table but also the text area for names of the group members. The latter used to appear as a popup window in earlier versions. What a dumb choice of GUI-making that was! Anyway, the input table is now more user-friendly with the drop-down menu in “Involved?” column having clear texts {‘Yes and Paid:’; ‘No.’; ‘No but Paid:’} (instead of earlier {+,0,-}!) to let one know what will be done with the input amount. The name and currency of each transaction now appear above the table. In addition, the total amount for each transaction is now also shown below the table.

ExpenSplit - Input

The middle third, as before, contains the table for splitting transactions. It might seem like nothing much have changed here (apart from the ‘Total’ column) but this table can show the data in two different formats now. One is the usual ‘Splits View’ and the other is what I have called the ‘Transfers View’ which shows positive and negative numbers with straightforward connotation of ‘pays’ and ‘gets’, respectively. This table will also get an extra column added for currency if one enables the multi-currency option.

ExpenSplit - Transfers

The bottom third, as before, contains the table for calculating payments. It might again seem like nothing much have changed here but this table can show the final payments in two different formats now. One is the usual ‘Detailed View’ and the other is what I like to call the ‘Simplified View’, which just writes down the payments as instructions. Also, when muti-currency option is enabled, the currency for final payments can be chosen and the instructions are updated accordingly.

ExpenSplit - Payments

Let me now properly point out the elephant in the room that has been casually pointed at in the above paragraphs. Yes, transactions in multiple currencies in a single file are now supported in ExpenSplit, for my Superpartner’s sake. This feature is enabled from the ‘Options’ menu. The data is obtained from and the user is recommended / urged to get an API key from there to update the exchange rates bundled with the program. Those rates will be way out-dated by the time you get your hands on this program. (If this feels familiar to you, good to know that you use AcBook.)

Let me also point out that the two ‘new’ formats in the latter two tables have not appeared out of thin air, but are just the data that were saved to an Excel file (along with the .mat file) in earlier versions. This inclusion of double ‘views’ in the tables suggested some changes for how the data is saved in this version. That is, saving data in the .mat file and in an Excel file are no longer done via a single button. The ‘Save’ button just saves the data to a .mat file whereas a new ‘Export’ button saves the data to a properly formatted Excel file. (Again, this should remind you of AcBook.) These operations along with a couple of others like setting (& getting) default names and currency are done via the new menu bar and toolbar.

ExpenSplit - Top Bars

Yes, the toolbar has returned (with 4 buttons) along with a revamped menu bar with a lot of never-before-seen options (which include those already discussed above) in this program (but familiar from my other programs, see the tabs near the top of this blog). Something that is not often appreciated is that the resizing behaviour of the GUI has become slightly better than before. This is due to the slightly ‘improved’ UIGridLayout, but the flexible grid feature of GUILT is still not here!

That is all that is ‘new’ and ‘improved’ in this version. Thanks for reaching all the way down here! Now go download this program and start sharing your expertise in splitting hairs or expenses, for that matter.

ExpenSplit 3.0

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