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NOT feeding the monster

February 15th, 2011

So it’s been over 7 months since I posted on my blog.  I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that but I had intended to post regularly.  I definitely haven’t been “feeding the monster”, which is a blogging term that means you have to blog often to get a following.  I’m not really after a following; this is just a publicly available brain dump, really.

PayDay is on hold due to paid freelance work taking precedence over the unpaid passion project.  That’s ok, though.  The good thing about a passion project is you’re doing it for yourself and you’re not going to let down anyone if you need to shelve it for a while.

I was going to post about currencies in PayDay and I started writing the article but I think I’ve overcooked the idea of currencies.  Now I don’t think I even need currencies in PayDay.  It’s meant to be a personal budgeting tool that gives you a heads up about recurring bills.  Not many people have recurring bills that are from another country.

Another thing I was missing was the idea that the act of converting currency and how it is done is tied very much to the situation.  Why are you converting the currency?  If it’s to see how much that Think Geek t-shirt will cost in AUD then you’re going to have to take that conversion with a grain of salt.  That AUD figure is just not going to be what you are going to pay for that t-shirt once the transaction is done.  The obvious reason is that the exchange rate changes all the time.  That’s obvious.  Another reason is that the financial institution that make the purchase through will charge you their own rate for the conversion.  If you get your conversion rates from xe.com I guarantee that the rate will be different to the one that your bank will use when they send the money to Think Geek.  Let’s not forget that some banks will also charge a conversion fee.

Sometimes you just need an approximate representation of that foreign currency in your local currency.  You know it’s not accurate but that’s ok, you just need to know a ball park  figure.  Then currency conversion is more about statistics; “on average how much AUD will x USD cost?”

For currencies to make sense in PayDay I would have had to add the concept of ‘approximate value’ into the model.  I think that’s a valid concept to have but I wouldn’t bake it in until a few version later.  I think, also, I’d have to have the approximate value feature done before I could think about having multiple currencies in PayDay.  I’d make it so that approximate values were applicable not only to currency conversion but to bills that you know might change in value over time, like Brisbane City public transport costs (grr!).

Anyway once I finish my current freelance work I’ll get back into PayDay.  I bought a MacBook Pro a few months ago so I’ll have to get PayDay up and running on that.  I want to keep it as a .Net project so I might have to install Windows 7 on the Mac or wait for MonoMac.  Mac Zealots please don’t write in abusing me 😉  If it’s all too hard to get a working .Net environment running on my Mac I might change the the project’s technology stack but I’d really like to have a mixture of technologies i.e. a .Net backend and website with an iOs app that talks to the backend.  We’ll see.

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