Sunday, March 1, 2009

Wasabi for Sushi?

This was copied from my new blog, http://railsonrisknet.blogspot.com


Wasabi for Sushi?

No, I meant the web 2.0 application called "Wesabe" for the financial management. For last few years, I have used many different kinds of financial management software such as MS Money, Quicken, and MoneyDance but nothing really satisfied my needs. A few months ago, I found a couple of good web applications costing nothing to me and have tried them all in a parallel mode until now.

I like them all but nothing is still perfect for satisfying users' needs. I am little reluctant to show my impression from each of these applications because I might not be the right person to give 100% "not biased" opinions on each application. Instead, I am here posting a couple of items for each application as my wish list.

Quicken Online

Yeah, this is a web-based Quicken money management application and it really handles everything very well. This is backed by the most trusted company, and all transactions are handled nicely with a smart categorization system.

This Quicken Online will be superior to others if it supports "non traditional" accounts such as 401k, IRA, and investment accounts with a portfolio analysis to keep a track of each position's performance. Currently, it only shows the latest balance for each account.
Secondly, I wish I have a "social networking" capability in Quicken Online as well to share any thoughts/ideas related to financial matters just like Wesabe.com does nicely on its web site.

Mint

This another free web-based money management application gives the best web user interface among all. You need to give all the bank account's credentials to Mint to add each bank/credit card account, and this is something you need to decide if it makes you feel confident with this new web site.

Currently, it does not support "manual/upcoming" transactions so we can't predict our cashflows in the checking account. This is a big minus for Mint even though it has a great looking web user interface to attract most of new users. If Mint does not allow users to manually register any upcoming transactions (such as checks that did not hit the bank yet), then Mint will be only used for "What happened" scenario analysis. As a money/financial management software, we need to have "What if" scenario analysis to predict the upcoming cashflows/transactions.
Also, it will be great if Mint has a "social networking" feature as well to share thoughts/ideas with other users.

Wesabe

I am not sure if this name comes from a hot radish paste, which I use with Sushi, but this site's big plus is a solid user base powered by Web 2.0 "social networking" concept. The web user interface is not that much intuitive, but it will not be hard to use all the features after learning them all by replaying "how to use" Youtube file.

This site currently beta tests "manual" transactions. Users can manually enter any transactions in the account page, and this is something I really wanted to have in Wesabe. The feature is not completely ready yet, and it has some minor issue with "runnig balance." Since many users proactively participate in beta testing, I am sure this will be shortly released as a final production feature.
Compared to other sites, Wesabe does not support "investment and other non-traditional accounts." Although I was able to add one of investments' account by myself, it only shows the latest balance along with transactions. If Wesabe has a "portfolio analysis" just like Mint does on its web site, then I will definitely give a big plus A to Wesabe.

Wesabe is "developers' friendly," and it looks like it has been developed on RoR (Ruby on Rails) to me. But, please correct me if I got this impression wrong. By using its APIs, it looks like any developers can build additional module to utilize Wesabe's data.

Since I started using Ruby on Rails for my personal "off-housrs" projects, I really want to get involved in Wesabe's developers community to bring some new modules to Wesabians as well.

Mint has a fancy & great looking user interface and it looks like it supports most of banks, and Quicken does handle "manual/upcoming" transactions well. We have great web tools here, which is free of charge, and the choice is yours to make.

Enjoy with these great web tools!