Mockups, draft docs and notes exploring possible future features.
In Ledger and hledger¶
In the journal, a
P DATE COMMODITY AMOUNTdirective some commodity’s market price in some other commodity on DATE. (A timestamp may be added, but is ignored.)
In a posting,
AMT @ UNITPRICEdeclares the per-unit price that was used to convert AMT into the price’s commodity. Eg:
2A @ 3Brecords that 2A was posted, in exchange for 6B.
@@ TOTALPRICEis another form of
@, sometimes more convenient. Eg:
2A @@ 5.99Brecords that 2A was posted in exchange for 5.99B.
@ UNITPRICEAny use of
@also generates an implicit
2019/1/1 a 2A @ 3B b
in the journal is equivalent to writing
2019/1/1 a 2A @ 3B b P 2019/1/1 A 1.5B
The following are variants of the above; they work the same way except that you write the total instead of the unit price:
@does not generate a market price
A model for capital gains¶
Capital gain/loss (when the value of assets you hold increases/decreases due to market price fluctuations) - is an important topic, since it can generate tax liability.
Here is a description of how it works, intended for both users and builders of accounting software (especially, plain text accounting software). (I’m a software engineer, not an accountant. In places there may be better accounting terms I’m not familiar with yet.)
lots/units - A quantity of some commodity, acquired at a certain price on a certain date, is called a lot, or unit. (I’m not sure which is the most standard term. Using lot for now.)
Since you might have purchased the lot on a stock exchange, received it as a gift, or something else, we’ll call this event lot acquisition, on the acquisition date.
Later you might sell the lot for cash, or exchange it for something else, or gift it. We’ll call this lot disposal.
You might have paid current market value for the lot, or you might have paid less or more than that. We’ll call what you paid/exchanged the acquisition amount.
I think the acquisition amount is also called the basis or cost basis. Or possibly the current market value is the basis, regardless of what you paid. Perhaps it depends. To be clarified. The basis at which you acquired a lot is important.
After acquisition, while you are still holding the lot, if the market value of that commodity goes up (or down), your potential return from disposing of the lot increases (or decreases). This is known as capital gain (or loss) (we’ll just call it “capital gain”). At this stage, the gain is only “on paper”, so it is called unrealised capital gain (URG). This is not considered revenue, or taxable.
It’s common to be holding multiple lots, perhaps many, even in a single account. Eg, say you buy a small amount of some stock or cryptocurrency each week. Each purchase adds a new lot to your assets. We’ll call this a multi-lot balance, or balance.
URG is calculated for a lot at a certain point in time. Likewise for a multi-lot balance.
realised capital gain
lot withdrawal strategies
Capital gains in hledger¶
postings can have multiple commodities and multiple prices; each of these parts is a deposit or withdrawal to the account
-- | Given a list of amounts all in the same commodity, interprets them -- as a sequence of lot deposits (the positive amounts) and withdrawals -- (the negative amounts), and applies them in order using the FIFO -- strategy for withdrawals, then returns the resulting lot balance (as -- another, shorter, list of amounts). sumLots :: [Amount] -> [Amount]
Ease of getting started¶
What could make getting started substantially easier ?
Official CI-generated binaries for all major platforms
Builtin access to docs in web format
CI-generated binaries for linux & mac¶
Provide official static linux/mac release binaries with CI, like windows.
Provide the seven embedded reference manuals as HTML also. Eg:
hledger help –html # temporary static html files
hledger help –web # serve from local hledger-web instance if installed
hledger help –site # on hledger.org
hledger-ui ? h/w/s # same as above
hledger-web -> help # served from hledger-web
Name: hledger.conf (and possibly ~/.hledger.conf as well).
easy to say and spell
good highlighting support in editors
Format: toml/ini-ish format, but customised for our needs (if necessary).
# hledger.conf [defaults] # Set options/arguments to be always used with hledger commands. # Each line is: HLEDGERCMD ARGS, or: hledger ARGS hledger -f hledger.journal bal -M --flat -b lastmonth ui --watch web -V help --html [commands] # Define aliases for custom hledger commands. # Each line is: CMDALIAS = HLEDGERCMD ARGS assets = bal -M ^assets\b liab = bal -M ^liabilities\b # Or use colon, like make ? bs2: bs --no-total date:thisyear # Or just whitespace, like hledger csv rules ? smui ui ^sm\b # Allow arbitrary shell commands ? 2019: hledger -f 2019.journal jstatus: git status -sb -- *.journal # Allow multi-command shell scripts, with optional help string ? bsis: "Show monthly balance sheet and income statement" hledger bs -M echo hledger is -M echo
at startup and ideally:
hledger-web: on each page load if changed, like journals
hledger-ui –watch: on change, like journals
Search a number of locations in order. Values from multiple files are combined, with later files taking precedence.
User config file: should it be “modern” ~/.config/hledger.conf or “old/simple” ~/.hledger.conf ? One or the other may be preferred/easier/more portable. If we support both, should it be one or the other, or both ?
Parent directory config files: we’d probably like to recognise config files in parent directories. How far up should we look - to the root dir ? to the user’s home dir ? and if not under the user’s home dir, don’t look up at all ? to the nearest VCS working directory root ?
This would be the simplest comprehensive scheme: use all of
hledger.conf in all directories from / down to the current directory
Eg: running hledger in /home/simon/project/finance would combine any of the following which exist: