Why can't QFM just function like QFW?

Jon Y
Jon Y Member ✭✭
I know I'm probably beating a dead horse, but this seems like such a logical thing to me. I think that QFW is a wonderful product, I've used it since the 90's. However, I'm also a huge Mac user and have been trying to move to QFM for ages and it's just never been as good. I just don't get it. You have a product that thousands of people use and love. You decide to put it on the Mac and instead of bringing over all of the features in the Windows version you create some stunted parody. Why?

A couple of examples. In QFW, in the check register, I always have at the bottom of the screen a blank new transaction just waiting for me to put in data. It's a very smooth flow from entering in one transaction and then going to another. With QFM, I have to purposely click on the + sign or do the keyboard shortcut... why... who would have thought that this was a good thing? And in that same vein, in QFW, if I'm entering a transaction from an earlier date, it tucks it neatly in the register where it is supposed to go and I'm still left with the nice blank transaction at the bottom of the display ready for me to enter in more data. In QFM, it puts in the earlier transaction in the right place in the register, but also puts me there as well. In the latest version of QFM, Quicken has finally allowed us to attach a category to a transaction... something that QFW has had since forever. And there's just other little things that just don't flow as smoothly in QFM... and I just have to ask Why? I can't imagine that it's some weird programming thing between Mac and Windows.

I've tried a bunch of Quicken alternatives and while I find some of them pretty good, they're not good enough to make we want to switch away from QFW. I'm really giving QFM a good try this time around and hopefully I can stick with it.

Frustrated Mac user.
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  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    a) I can't answer for Quicken on all your questions, but I feel pretty confident they haven't set out to try to create an inferior product. ;) There's a modest-size development team that's constantly working to add features, but the reality is that there are hundreds of things users want added, and the complexity of the code means progress is slower than anyone (including the developers) would like. Quicken Windows is the result of more than 30 years of development; Quicken Mac isn't yet into its teenage years.

    b) Yes, the programming actually is vastly different between building a Mac and Windows application. The databases are different; the various code frameworks for everything from drawing on the screen to printing are different. 

    c) You're talking primarily to fellow users here on this site, not Quicken management.

    d) For your question about always having a blank transaction at the bottom of the register, the Mac product manager has said there were multiple reasons the Mac program wasn't built to work that way. I can't locate that post from several years ago right now, but there were both technical reasons and user support issues with the open transactions. If you retrain your muscle memory to use Command-N to create new, blank transactions -- even in lieu of Return while finishing a transaction -- you'll find that it takes no more keystrokes than the old way. (That is, instead of having to move the mouse to click into a blank transaction at the bottom of the register, just press Cmd-N, and instead of pressing Return to save a transaction and open a new blank one, press Cmd-N and it will do exactly the same thing.) 

    e) I'm not sure what you're referring to when you wrote: "Quicken has finally allowed us to attach a category to a transaction." Quicken Mac has always had categories on transactions. If you're referring to memorized (QuickFill) transactions, yup, that was a longstanding frustrating limitation, but it's now been implemented -- just the sort of progress we're all rooting for. 

    To be clear, I'm a longtime Quicken Mac 2007 user, and there are still a number of things, large and small, that modern Quicken Mac still doesn't do, or do as well as the legacy version, so I'm certainly not saying everything is flawless. And I wish feature updates came along more quickly. But I'm happy the company appears committed to ongoing work on improving the Quicken Mac product.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Jon Y
    Jon Y Member ✭✭
    I agree that I doubt they set out to create an inferior product and I know that over the years the features people want grow. Still, back when the first Mac version was created; I used it and, if I remember correctly, I immediately abandoned it because it seemed so different than the Windows version. I'm taking about just porting over the base features that have always been in QFW.

    And, yes, I understand that programing a Mac and Windows are different, but still to have created a product that was so different seemed like more than just differences between Mac and Windows programming.

    And, yes, I realize that I need to just learn some new keystrokes, like I did when I first started using QFW, but I recently added a bunch of transactions to both QFM and QFW and it took me twice as long to do it on the Mac... and by the time I'd finished, I had a good handle on the new "Muscle memory" needed.

    Yes, on the category issue, I was referring to the new QuickFill... but see, that's one of those things that I think should have just been there all along. Also, related to that are splits. My conversion from QFW copied over all of my splits, but when I go to do a new transaction with the payee that I'd associated splits with, they aren't there. I've got another question open about that and I just need to create something new to handle it, but again... why?

    I do agree that Quicken has made some great strides in the Mac version in recent years... but honestly, if I'd found a native Mac product that had worked as well as QFW does, I'd have abandoned Quicken ages ago.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Jon Y said:
    And, yes, I understand that programing a Mac and Windows are different, but still to have created a product that was so different seemed like more than just differences between Mac and Windows programming.
    Well, it revolves around a lot of the messy history of how Quicken Mac came to be. This is long, but if you're interested in how we got here…

    By the time of the release of Quicken 2007 in fall 2016, the Intuit product team concluded they had reached the end of the road -- too much of the code depended on technologies Apple was telling developers would be removed from future versions of the operating system. They decided their only viable path forward was to build a new Mac product from scratch.

    They set out not to design an exact copy of Quicken Mac 2007, or Quicken Windows 2007, but a Mac-like next-generation program. The product was to be called Quicken Financial Life, but after a lot of development work, it never made it out of beta testing.

    Then in 2009, Intuit purchased Mint, the upstart free online personal finance platform which was winning lots of users, and put the Mint founder and CEO in charge of both Mint and Quicken. He wanted Quicken to become more "Mint-like", which is where some of the candy-colored graphics in Quicken Mac originated. They were trying to build something that looked like a modern Mac application, but found that re-creating all the features that had been built over 2+ decades was a complex and daunting task. By early 2010, with a new version of MacOS coming the following year which would not be able to run Quicken 2007, they decided they had to release something, so they brought out Quicken Essentials, which was an incomplete version that lacked a lot of features, including investment tracking.

    The former Mint CEO now running Quicken said at the time: “It’s called 'Mac Essentials' because it’s got the essential features used by 80 percent of the users we’ve surveyed and talked to. So we had to decide, do we want to put a product out that serves 80 percent of the market and is a vast improvement in so many ways, or do we delay it again? And what I thought was, given the growing popularity of the Mac platform… it was better to get a product out that’s good for 80 percent of the market.” So they released Essentials in 2010 -- to widely negative reviews because of how limited it was. Quicken promised that they would follow Essentials in 2011 with a true Quicken Deluxe version “that would have the stock-lot accounting and potentially bill pay.” But the executive quit, the management team was reshuffled, and work on a full-fledged Quicken Mac stalled.

    In 2012, Intuit hired a new product manager, Marcus, and a handful of programmers to pick up the Essentials code to try to build it out into a full-fledged version of Quicken Mac. Back in 2012, he wrote why they couldn't just mimic Quicken Windows: "Unfortunately, like many software products that have been around for a long time, lots of the core Quicken Windows code such as investments is written in a way that can't easily be shared --  so porting the Windows code and making it run on the Mac is not an option. We are moving in that direction for the long term, but for now the best and fastest way to deliver new functionality is to build on top of an existing Quicken Mac product." It was based on the code and user interface of Essentials, but bolted on new capabilities for tracking investments. With a tiny team, it took two years until they released the first version of the modern Quicken Mac. It was better, but still woefully incomplete -- there were lots of things they simply couldn't get to in that first release. 

    Here's a post from Marcus back in 2014, shortly after the debut of Quicken Mac 2015: "I read someone ask 'How hard is it to just replicate Quicken Windows on the Mac'. Well it's actually really hard. It took 30 years to create that product. The bottom line is we released what we felt was a great release for Quicken Essentials users -- and the plan is to continue to enhance the product adding legacy features that appear in other versions of Quicken... I don't expect many Quicken 2007 or Quicken Windows users to purchase the product until it has the features they need. In my opinion, customers should wait and see instead of getting angry with us for releasing Quicken 2015."

    Over the past 5 years, there has been a steady progression of features added to Quicken Mac. Some time was lost when Quicken separated from Intuit and had to rebuild some of their code to function without Intuit's servers, and Apple kept updating the macOS in ways that required some under-the-hood fixes and re-writes of code, but the reality is that Quicken's code and database are pretty complex, and adding the features users want has taken longer than anyone anticipated.

    I still have an old copy of Quicken Mac 2015 on my computer, and when I launch it now, I can see how far the product has come. But I still long for some missing features and ease-of use functionality that hasn't yet been replicated from Quicken 2007 (or Windows). I continue to hope that with the passage of mire time, Quicken Mac will continue to evolve into the personal finance tool many of us want it to be. 

    Jon Y said:
    And, yes, I realize that I need to just learn some new keystrokes, like I did when I first started using QFW, but I recently added a bunch of transactions to both QFM and QFW and it took me twice as long to do it on the Mac... and by the time I'd finished, I had a good handle on the new "Muscle memory" needed.
    I don't disagree. There are things I could do faster in Quicken Mac 2007. I was responding to your issue with adding a new register transaction and noting that that particular thing really does not require any additional work. 
    Jon Y said:
    Yes, on the category issue, I was referring to the new QuickFill... but see, that's one of those things that I think should have just been there all along. Also, related to that are splits. My conversion from QFW copied over all of my splits, but when I go to do a new transaction with the payee that I'd associated splits with, they aren't there. I've got another question open about that and I just need to create something new to handle it, but again... why?
    Yes, we would have all like it to "have been there all along." But Quicken Essentials circa 2010 wasn't built that way, and when the current team picked up the code, they had more urgent priorities to tackle. But the good thing is that it was on the development roadmap, and now it has been implemented. So, yeah, we can complain about why it took so long, but I'm just happy this has been crossed off the wishlist and made into a reality.

    As for your past transactions where you want to "memorize" the splits, you can just find a past instance of that transaction, open it to the Splits screen, and check the checkbox for "Save splits as a QuickFill rule for this payee." 

    Jon Y said:
    I do agree that Quicken has made some great strides in the Mac version in recent years... but honestly, if I'd found a native Mac product that had worked as well as QFW does, I'd have abandoned Quicken ages ago.
    I'd say there are a lot of people who would agree with you. ;) But the bottom line is that many people have found that Quicken is the best at what it does, limitations and all, and that's why we stick with it and watch/root/lobby for it to continue to get better. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Jon Y
    Jon Y Member ✭✭
    Thanx for the input and clarifications
  • smayer97
    smayer97 SuperUser, Mac Beta, Canada Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    @jacobs phew...that was a lot of words...well done :-)
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    (Canadian user since '92, STILL using QM2007)
  • Jon Y
    Jon Y Member ✭✭
    So, the acid test for me of any banking program is how well and accurately and efficiently does it reconcile an account. I have tested several Mac native third party banking programs and some of them do OK and some have the most obtuse way of looking at reconciling that it really seems to make no sense.

    I reconciled my accounts for the month in QFW and that, of course went well. Then I did it in QFM. The good news is that it worked correctly; had the right statement totals from the previous reconcile, which was done only in QFW and then imported into QFM, and it gave me the right difference - 0 - at the end of reconciling each account. The flow wasn't horrible, but it will require me to redo things on my end primarily because there's no way to sort by column. And in QFW, there is the In side and the Out side which makes it easier to find and reconcile the deposits to the accounts; QFM only has a check register type view so I have to take more time scrolling finding everything. And, again, part of that is how I opt to do my various transactions. One thing I do not understand is why it doesn't take into account fees and interest like QFW does. in QFW, I just need to enter those in during the reconcile setup, but in QFM, I have to take the time to create separate transactions.

    So, as with most things for QFM, it's not undoable and not horrible, but if it had been more like QFW, it would have been an easier and more efficient transition from QFW to QFM.
  • djbenedetti
    djbenedetti Member ✭✭
    Good stuff, but, hopefully the QFW user stories are in the QFM backlog aimed for future (hopefully soon) releases. It's a good product and I understand things that depend on OS must be reworked. Tick Tock, Tick Tock. Eager to watch progress........
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @Jon Y Actually, in Quicken Mac, you an have the "In side and the Out side" like Quicken Windows. This is done on an account-by-account basis: click the Settings button in the menu at the bottom of the transaction window, uncheck "Amount" and check the appropriate In/Out headings. (They vary according to account type; for checking, for instance, it's "Payment" and "Deposit", while for credit cards it's "Charge" and "Payment", for assets and liabilities it's "Decrease" and "Increase" , and for group accounts like Cash, Banking or All Transactions it's "Outflow" and "Inflow".) The reconcile window will use these columns if you have them set in your register that way.

    You're correct that you can't sort by any column, only date ascending or descending. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Jon Y
    Jon Y Member ✭✭
    Thanx, I've voted. And, as I mentioned, it's just some of those things that worked so well in QFW, not bringing it to QFM just seems wrong. and @jacobs, I don't see what you're talking about; I can't change that in my settings gear at the bottom of the screen... and even if I could, it's not that I don't have separate column for those things, it's just in QFW, the deposit side and the debit side were totally separate and it just made reconciling a little more simple.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @Jon Y If you have separate money in and out columns in  your register, you see the same in your reconcile window...



    If you're not seeing that, I'm misspoke earlier: it's the Columns icon, not Settings, in  the bottom toolbar, which lets you enable these columns and turn off Amount.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Jon Y
    Jon Y Member ✭✭
    @jacobs, I do have separate columns, but in QFW, all my deposits are grouped together as are the payments. So, when I'm reconciling from my paper statement, I can quickly check off the deposits and then move onto the payments. With QFM, the reconcile window is really just another view of the check register so I have to move up and down just to do the same thing that in QFW, I could have just done in one spot. thanx...
  • Jon Y
    Jon Y Member ✭✭
    @jacobs you said: As for your past transactions where you want to "memorize" the splits, you can just find a past instance of that transaction, open it to the Splits screen, and check the checkbox for "Save splits as a QuickFill rule for this payee."

    While technically you are correct you can do this, it saves a copy of what was in that last transaction, including the amounts. With QFW, I have a blank saved split that I can just fill in my new paycheck numbers. While the above does work, I have to replace numbers that are in there with new ones; not nearly as efficient. I tried taking an old transaction and wiping it clean, and then saving it so that the categories would pop up, but QFM didn't like that and didn't really save the empty transaction.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @Jon Y Hmmm, you're right. I think there's a bug in there. You can make and save a "template" transaction with zero dollar values for amount and each split if you create it from scratch, but for some reason if you take an existing Quickfill transaction and editor all the amounts to be zero, it doesn't save with the zero values. So for now, it seems, you have to build these transactions from scratch. Since you can, in fact, create and save such QuickFill transactions, I have to think it's a bug that you can't edit and existing one to all zeros.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
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