New Money addon review – PalOMoney


SunsetOFX

I’ve been beta testing two new apps that interface with Sunset Money that I’ll be reviewing today. Knowing that many of my blog readers have stated that they want to be able to update quotes from Google and Yahoo without having to deal with Python is the reason for my inclusion of the first (beta) app, which actually is not “new” in that it was released in 2011. It is SunsetOFX from Syntap Software and it is a simple Windows app that only requires .NET 3.5 which is native to Windows 7. If you are running Windows XP as I am, you are probably running .NET 3.5 as well, and if not, it is an easy to install update. Whichever folder you install the single EXE file into is where the XML and OFX files are also saved (when exiting). The app has an ADD button to add stocks, funds and options. There is no DELETE button, but by right-clicking the XML file, which also serves to store your security selections, you can select edit and your text editor will open the file for editing. Similar to Pocketsense and TheFinanceBuff’s scripts, you should create a dummy account with zero shares of the quoted securities and you can only update Money once per day, so if you update a mutual fund prior to 5 or 6 pm, the quote will probably be from the prior business day. Any feature requests regarding SunsetOFX should be left on Syntap’s blog page.


PalOMoney

The developer(s) of the second app seem very anxious to get a much more robust Money addon program to fruition. It is called PalOMoney and it has really advanced in the last few weeks. I believe I am the first outside beta tester and I probably caused a few headaches for the developer(s) as I installed the app as I thought a typical user would (rather than the suggested “ideal test computer” conditions using a root folder, etc) but I can honestly state that I’m confident that unlike version 1.0.3, the current version (1.0.4 as I’m writing this) should install nicely and work as advertised.

It too is a Windows program, but this one actually directly interfaces with Money’s data file with the intent of updating delayed, real-time and historical quotes, tax tables, and perhaps even currency exchange rates as Microsoft’s MSN servers used to (even if you have the file open in Money). It already has additional capabilities to interface with external (batch, script, etc.) files and programs if you have a need to.

It should be able to interface with most versions of Money internationally, rather than only the US Sunset version. Unlike the Python-scripted quote update options, a dummy account is not necessary and the quotes are assigned the proper date and can be updated as frequently as you desire.

I like the Tax Table edit feature that I suggested be added as well. Rather than attempting to update the tax tables with new IRS data, a smart decision was made to simply display every record in your Money database and make them all editable.   Later on, as a reliable tax data source becomes available, an import option can easily be added.

I encourage any of my blog readers that would like to assist PalOMoney’s developers in testing / advancing this app further or raising the priority of an enhancement (listed below) to get in touch with them.  More details can be found here.

This is a list of some of the requested enhancements

Title Priority Difficulty Description
Export to … low medium but tedious A method to export the entire Money database to any number of formats, e.g., OFX, CSV, Microsoft Jet, Sql Server, MySql., etc.
Additional Quote Source modules medium easy Interface to additional data streams, paid and public.
Banking & Credit Card OFX updating medium easy Replacement for existing python based ofx/qfx interfaces.
(NOTE: This has been implemented in version 1.05)
Update Other Security Data medium medium Update the other security info, e.g., bid, ask, high, low, P/E, Market Cap, etc. rating. Also update the “Last Updated” control on the portfolio manager.
Screen Scraper Interface very low difficult Possibly justified for Banks who offer only onerous ofx service terms, such as $9.95/month for ofx access. (Suggestion: call your bank try to get ofx access for free, or take your business elsewhere.)
Re-institute of Watch Lists low unknown Support Money Watch List accounts.
Portfolio Views medium medium Support additional views other than “Quote Status.”
Portfolio View Grouping medium medium Grouping by account, security type, etc.
Auto Quote Schedules medium medium Implement the auto-update mechanisms. This would include some sort of quote meter to support managing paid accounts or network load. Frankly, we are worried about abusing or overloading public quote source data.
Pop-up Charts low medium A chart that displays your investments, etc. during a time period.
Investment Alerts low medium Reinstate Money’s alerts or implement independent alerts. If you need alerts, perhaps you should use a real trading platform.
Account Transaction Alerts low medium Watch over your bank and credit card accounts via instant messaging, or a scrollable list of transactions. This would be helpful to spot fraudulent use of your accounts. This would be a major reason to include bank and credit card account views.
Watch Lists out of Money low medium Keep track of stocks outside of Money.
Log File Manager medium easy With all the log (and output) files generated by updates, some way to manage them would be helpful.
Update Summary low easy Display a summary of the last quote updates. See Log File Manager.
Adjust Security List Color Scheme low easy Add an option to standardize and customize the list row colors, instead of the current non-standard alternating 3 color scheme.
Replacement Quote Server low major Replace the retired Microsoft quote server with a compatible service. Also, replace or do something about the retired activation servers so Money 2008 and prior versions can be installed on new computers.
Substitute the MS Money Database low major Migrate the closed MS Money (Jet 3.5) Database to a choice of open databases for increased performance, increased opportunity for community development of add-ons and accessories, and as a hedge against obsolescence.

I will be adding additional comments and updates to my PalOMoney experience as I think of them on this blog post to keep everything together and I plan to be following the expected advancement(s) of this Money addon that shows great potential!

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4 Comments »

  1. Bill said

    Thanks for the SunsetOFX review! One note, you don’t have to edit the app’s XML save file to remove a position, just click on the ticker row in the positions grid and hit the keyboard Delete button. – Bill of Syntap Software

  2. Both of these seem to be specifically for financial quotes, is that correct? There are no new advancements other than PocketSense OFX for other accounts, is that right?

  3. ameridan said

    Bill,
    I fixed the sentence in question, and along with your comment, others will know how to remove your sample stock (or any security no longer wanted). I’m used to right-clicking and seeing all available options and hadn’t even thought to just hit the delete key 🙂 Your program works nicely, but I use Pocketsense daily.

    Brian,
    SunsetOFX is specifically for financial quotes, but PalOMoney intends to eventually take over most of the online functions we used to have in Money (if they are encouraged to do so). I’ve added their list of “Enhancement Requests” to the review for you to peruse…

  4. The one thing I miss about Money was how it automatically updated almost all accounts. Whereas now, I am able to use PocketSense OFX, but for only four accounts out of two dozen-plus accounts with my credit union, retail cards and regular credit cards plus a 401(k).

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