.Net Ledger: Double-Entry Accounting System
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.Net Ledger: Double-Entry Accounting System

.Net Ledger (NLedger) is a complete .Net port of the Ledger, excellent powerful command line accounting system. The main purpose of this project is to enable all features of Ledger to .Net world.

NLedger command line utility (NLedger.cli) is highly compatible with the original Ledger. It supports all original features and command line options; the produced output is 100% equal. The reliable level of compatibility is verified by Ledger tests that are 99% passed (with exception of few ones that require unavailable on Windows features). It is expected that people may feel like they use the genuine Ledger but in Windows command line.

NLedger is written on pure C# with no dependencies on any external libraries or any platform-specific features. It lets NLedger properly work on any Windows (or .Net compatible) system and be easily portable to any .Net platform.

Quick Start

If you have just installed NLedger and want to know what to do next, you can try:

  • Run NLedger in a command line:
    • Click .Net Ledger Folder icon in the main menu;
    • Type cmd in the address bar of Windows Explorer window;
    • In the command line window, type ledger --version - NLedger should show its version;
    • Type ledger bal -f test/input/drewr3.dat - you will get a balance for one of example files that are in test\input folder;
  • Run NLedger Live Demo:
    • Click .Net Ledger Live Demo icon in the main menu;
    • Observe the documentation and try all examples in action;
  • Read this file to the end, Ledger 3 Documentation, .Net Ledger Guide and try to find the use of this tool.

Features

NLedger thoroughly derives all valuable Ledger capabilities. Basically, all what Ledger can do, NLedger can do as well. Here is a short list of the most significant Ledger features:

  • As an excellent accounting system:
    • Double-entry accounting. Nuff said; it is a must-have feature;
    • Multi-posting transactions allow to incorporate several monetary movements into one logical operation. For example, one transaction may include cash withdrawal, writing off money from the card account and corresponded bank fees;
    • Commodities and Currencies can represent whatever you work with as a dimension of measurement. It may be currencies, shares, time and whatever else that can be measured in numbers and need to be included into accounting;
    • Amounts are "smart" numbers that incorporate a number and a corresponded commodity. It gives exact information about the matter of an amount and let the application properly manipulate with it. For example, it never adds up 10.00 US dollars with 5 AAPL but can convert one amount to another;
    • Prices and Price History gives information how to convert one amount to another at any moment. You can give this information explicitly (as a price table) but the application can also collect it also in implicit way, by analyzing transactions and data conversions in them;
    • Balancing and auto-balancing make accounting transactions smarter: the application can validate that a transaction balances even it has posts in different currencies or commodities. Moreover, in some conditions it can auto-complete it (calculate the last amount) that simplify writing the journal records;
    • Journal, Account and other basic accounting attributes are here;
  • As an effective command line utility:
    • Text files are the only source for the accounting utility. It does not require any other components, applications, special data files - only text. It is completely under your control;
    • Never change any file - yes, Ledger only reads input files and generates reports;
    • Easy syntax of the journal lets you keep your accounting files in the natural language;
    • Huge amount of reports lets you organize your work in the most efficient way;
    • Command line interface is very flexible thing that let you configure your typical commands in batch files. Once you have them, your efficiency will be much better rather you get the same result in any UI tool;
  • As a technically advanced tool:
    • Inline expressions allow you to configure your own functions in the journal;
    • Functions and evaluations let you do the same in the command line;
    • Tags in the journal file let you add meta data to your transactions;

And many other features, really. Ledger is very efficient tool with wide capabilities, so it is highly recommended to familiar with the original documentation, read other resources (http://plaintextaccounting.org) and keep yourself in loop with Ledger Community.

The Use of NLedger

So, if Ledger is so nice, why NLedger? Here is the answer or, in other words, the project mission :)

The first use of NLedger is enabling Ledger features in Windows world. Even as a developer, I found it was not easy to run Ledger 3.1.1 on Windows 10 and, I believe, it would be unsolvable problem for regular people.

I would like to let everyone install NLedger by one click and use it exactly in the same way as it is described in Ledger documentation. Ledger but on any Windows - it was the first goal.

The second use of NLedger is that it is a native .Net application. It gives unlimited abilities to extend it with extra functions and integrate with other products on .Net platform. It was the second thing why it was decided to port Ledger on .Net.

Project Vision and Development Progress

The ultimate overall goal of this project is to have a fully functional Ledger on .Net platform in the form of a command line utility plus to have a connector library that gives seamless access to the same functions for external .Net applications.

  • Current Project Status is:

    • Ported from Ledger 3.1.1, branch Next, commit fd486a59; 2018/4/9
    • Core functionality is ported; command line utility is available;
    • Ledger testing framework is ported;
    • Ledger tests are passed to some extend:
      • 98% (650 out of 662) test cases passed;
      • 12 test cases are ignored because of known limitations;
      • 0 failed.
  • Current limitations (technical restrictions that will be addressed by next releases) are:

    • No Python integration. Ledger tests that require Python are disabled;
    • DateTime parser on .Net has less specific error messages and does not allow to detect the same mistakes as Ledger does. Corresponded Ledger test is disabled till further decision;
    • It was found that in some conditions the original Ledger produced incorrect rounding at the last rendering step (stream_out_mpq). It was caused by specifics of its arbitrary-precision arithmetic library; some combinations of divisible and divisor produce rounded result that does not match expected banking rounding. Some Ledger tests were corrected (opt-lot-prices, opt-lots, opt-lots_basis).
  • Development Roadmap is available by this link. It describes the plan to complete all intended features by the version 1.0.

Installation

Because of .Net nature, NLedger can run on any system that supports .Net Framework. However, its testing framework and helper tools use PowerShell, so you can run Ledger tests only if your system supports PowerShell as well.

System Requirements

  • .Net Framework 4.0 or higher (4.6.1 is recommended). It is required component to run the command line application;
  • PowerShell 4.0 or higher (5.0 is recommended). It is needed to run testing framework and other tools.

Therefore, PowerShell is not required component, you can still use NLedger, but ability to run PowerShell scripts makes your life easier.

Install from NLedger Installation Package

  • Download the latest NLedger installation package (MSI file) from Releases;
  • Run the installer and follow instructions on the screen;
  • Review nledger.html when installation finishes.

Note: the installer will request elevated permissions to call NGen.

Install from Binary Package

  • Download the latest NLedger installation package from Releases;
  • Unpack the package to a temp folder;
  • Open the file nledger.html and follow the installation instruction.

OR (for impatient people):

  • move unpacked NLedger to a place of permanent location (e.g. Program Files);
  • Open NLedger/Install folder and execute NLedger.Install.cmd (confirm administrative privileges to let it call NGen); close the console;
  • Run Windows Command Line (e.g. type cmd in the search bar) and type ledger in it.

Documentation

As it was mentioned, the main information source about how to use this application is Ledger resources and community. Therefore:

Contribution

NLedger is currently under an active development and some big enhancements are coming. You can check the planes in Roadmap. However, code quality is a primary focus, so any bug fixing requests and/or fixing changes will be processed in the first order. Therefore, if you want to help this project:

  • Any help in testing NLedger are very appreciated. You can leave information about found defect on Issues tab; they will be processed in the first order;
  • Anyone who would like to provide a fix for any found defect are welcome. Please, create pull requests for fixing changes; they will be processed in the first order as well;
  • Coming enhancements are developed under my control. Of course, anyone of you can make a fork from this code and extend it on your own, enjoy!

How to inform about found defects

  1. First of all, please check project Issues on GitHub and Known Issues in CHANGELOG. The issue you found might be already recorded.
  2. Check that the issue is reproducible and describe it.
  3. Ideally, locate the defect and create Ledger test file that exposes the problem. This file should properly pass test with the original Ledger and fail with NLedger.

Credits

Special thanks to John Wiegley for the nicest accounting tool I've ever seen. I really like it very much and it was a great pleasure for me to analyze its code in the smallest detail. Thought it was quite big challenge for me (GDB left the corns on my hands :)) I've got an invaluable experience. Thank you!

Contact

Licensing

The code is licensed under 3-clause FreeBSD license.

(c) 2017-2018 Dmitry Merzlyakov