Journal timelines
2023-01-31 by Evrim Ă–ztamur

Journal timelines

While digging around for some research on journal systems, I found these great visualisations on the beancount docs:

Transaction history graph

This graph displays transactions on a timeline where each transaction has arms reaching out to the accounts they impact. This could be a very useful as an appendix to various reports generated by accotron. I will look into how the SVGs are generated, but conceptually simple enough! Amending with hyperlinks to the underlying journals would be very useful too.

The problems with this style of representation on the other hand are:

Improving the beancount visualisation

In order to solve these, I made several changes:

With all these adjustments put together, I think that the result is much easier to track:

Screenshot of the journal timeline widget

Another screenshot of the journal timeline widget with symbolic journals

It is now easier to (in this example, for the chain of a single resource) track the adjustments made. You can tell the semantic meaning of a reversal, and also notice major changes like added or removed accounts at a glance.

The annotation icons for the journals share the same design language with the rest of the application, and they also contain hyperlinks to the journals for easier navigation.

All in all, I think that this timeline format keeps the idea while improving on it with all the new metadata we have. Further improvements can be made to visualise changes in other properties, such as the date of the journal, or movements in tax rates etc.