Data file conversions What really happens.

There is something that I want to clear up.  Especially since I have at times used terms that might confuse the issue, and certainly others seems to have the wrong impression of.

Quicken subscription data files are backwards compatible down to Quicken 2016, but that doesn't imply that the data file format hasn't changed.

Quicken wouldn't be able to add features and such that depend on the changes in the database, unless that database can change.

The trick is how you add those changes.  With careful forethought/planning you can put in changes in a way that the old version "doesn't see/ignores" them.  The main component of this is to start (say at Quicken 2016) a policy that first if Quicken doesn't recognize a database field, it ignores it.  And second that you "add", but never "subtract" fields and such.

The reason I point this out is because as can be seen in several posts it is definitely possible to have "conversion errors".  Quicken Subscriptions loading in an older data file, even one that was produced by Quicken 2016 or later, can certainly be changing that data file.
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  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2020
    @skeleton567 There is no perfect solution.

    One thing that I done a lot of is conversions from one format to another, and except for the trivial cases there is never a 100% perfect conversion.  You always have to either lose something or make assumptions.

    In fact I believe a lot of the "data corruption" problems of the past were in fact bad conversions during they "yearly conversion".  And I might add that it is perfectly clear that their conversions were not "complete".  In other words there are many documented cases where given an "old data file" Quicken behaves differently.  This has been true since long before Quicken 2016.  An example of this is how the hidden accounts behave in the lists.  In old data files "hidden" is ignored, and they always show.  In new data files "hidden" files "hide" in lists, but when you select the option to show them, they don't show.

    And yes, trying to maintain backwards compatibility is also a big challenge and prone to the same kind of problems.

    But from the user point of view, if you are going to have problems either in the conversion or in the maintaining of backwards compatibility, you certainly want backwards compatibility over conversion.

    Right now we can go back to Quicken 2016/2017 before the subscription.  That has the bonus of "escaping the subscription" nag screens if the subscription has expired.

    Now if Intuit had taken on the same policy back in Quicken 2013, we would be even better "protected".  Starting in Quicken 2014 you have the Quicken Id requirement.  If Quicken Inc goes under, there will be no server to register and as such you will never be able to install again.
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