John Topley’s Weblog

Introducing AssetsGraphed

I’ve just put my first Ruby on Rails application online. It’s called AssetsGraphed. It’s a free asset tracking application that also graphs your data. I created it as a vehicle for learning Rails and also because I needed a better handle on where my money goes!

AssetsGraphed lets you create assets and give them a starting balance. An asset can be anything financial that you want to track over time. For example, that dream holiday that you’re saving up for, a bank account, a retirement fund or even your pocket money. You enter incomings or outgoings against each asset and each incoming or outgoing is assigned a category, which might be something like Deposit for an incoming or Electricity Bill for an outgoing. You have complete control over your own categories. Oh, you can select which currency you want to do all this in too. There are eight to choose from, although it’s easy for me to add more. I made it default to the U.S. Dollar because that’s the nearest we have to a global currency. Don’t be offended if it’s not your currency, just select your own on the Settings screen.

An extract from the screenshots on the AssetsGraphed home page

The main AssetsGraphed screen gives an overview of all your assets and you can click them to drill down into the detail. Sparkline graphs plot the trends in the incomings, outgoings and overall balance for the asset. You can view or share asset activity by subscribing to its Atom feed. Yesterday I added a Reports page that for now just contains one report. It’s a pretty useful one though as it gives a breakdown of income or expenditure by category, either for all your assets or individual ones. So you can see the movement of your money very easily.

It’s important to understand that because AssetsGraphed is a learning exercise, it’s not a bulletproof web application. That means that it might crash, although I’ve been eating my own dog food on AssetsGraphed for just over a month now and it seems pretty solid. If it does crash on you then I’ll automatically get an e-mail about it and will investigate. You might find it a bit slow too. That’s because it’s actually running on the same shared server as this blog. I’m currently weighing up various options for moving it to a much more powerful hosting environment. I might even add SSL support too.

AssetsGraphed is just the first step on my journey to learn Ruby and Rails. There are lots of bits under the covers that I know could be done in better ways. I shall keep improving it as I learn more. There’s a really great community around Rails. I’d like to thank the Rails Weenie folks for patiently answering my questions and also Khoi Vinh for inspiring me with his Boxes and Arrows colour palette and letting me re-use it on AssetsGraphed.

Now that you’ve learned about AssetsGraphed and you’ve read the disclaimers, why not give it a try and let me know what you think?

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AssetsGraphed is just the first step on my journey to learn Ruby and Rails.


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