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#32268 - 12/22/14 10:08 AM Fonts in Quicken Windows v. Quicken Mac
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
I know this question pertains to Windows and probably has no place on this site. But I have a pressing question and I figured why not give it a shot.

Mom (75) had been using Quicken Deluxe 2007 for Mac. I bought her a Dell a few months ago. A couple weeks ago I bought the Quicken Starter 2015 version for Windows, expecting to be overwhelmed by how much better it would be.

I was stunned to find out that, unlike the 2007 Mac version, you couldn't change the fonts for your register or anything else onscreen. In fact, your choice was one check box: "Use Large Fonts." Of course I clicked it and it looked like crap. I wondered what the big deal was about being able to use different fonts and different sizes, given that the Mac could do it seven years ago, and given that Quicken is a very popular program. As features go, this one's obvious, right? I must be doing something wrong. I googled briefly and found this:

Quote:
In general people would like the ability to change fonts wherever they see them, this is not possible, and there are many interactions between settings in Quicken and in their operating system that can cause users problems and not allow them to achieve the desired results. This FAQ addresses the reasons, the current status, and possible workarounds. I will try first put in some history, and then try to address each common problem.

• Quicken Windows discussion, For Quicken Essentials for Mac you only can change size of fonts by changing the screen resolution.
• If you are using Quicken Windows with a retina screen in Parallels or any other Virtual Machine on a Mac see the "Mac" answer below for a possible solution for you.
• If you are using a high resolution screen and a large screen the last answer might help you.

Quicken has gone through many different GUI styles and many versions of operating systems. When a new operating system or style of GUI is created all of Quicken is not rewritten to make Quicken consistent with it (that is just not possible given the cost and time not to mention bugs it would take).

The result is for better or worse Quicken is a patch work of these things and as such some things that seem easy to the customer, like having control over all the fonts in the program and having them consistent is actually very difficult. A special case should also be pointed out and that is the regular register and what Quicken calls the Investment transaction list (investment register). These two have had a long history of being developed pretty much as separate things. They may look similar, but at the core they are very different as can be seen in the way you can (or can’t) change fonts and columns and such.

People using the Windows DPI scaling to make everything larger tend to say something to the effect that why does such a simple thing like making everything larger mess up things in Quicken. The truth is that over the different versions of Windows Microsoft has actually done different things for this, and they have never in the core provided the programmer a simple solution. There is a lot of work to make this look right, and when you add in the fact that Quicken is a mix of GUI styles it has been next to impossible for Intuit make this work/look right in Quicken. There have been several attempts that never made it out of Beta to get Quicken to work right with a DPI scaling of something other than 100%/smaller/normal (different operating systems have different names for this). See this link for information about this problem, and see that Quicken is not the only program that this has been a problem for: http://www.kynosarges.org/WindowsDpi.html

The latest attempt by Intuit to fix this problem came out in Quicken 2012, and is also in Quicken 2013, and it is called “Use Large Fonts." The idea here is for Quicken to do the scaling, as in make everything 125% larger. It was done this way for two reasons. The problems described above, and for the complaint “All my other applications are fine, but the print on Quicken is too small”. So by definition for the last complaint they wanted Quicken to do the 125% scaling even when other programs weren’t. Well it turns out that this “internal” scaling had even greater effects on how bad the Windows DPI scaling would “disturb” Quicken’s “look”.

Also it should be noted that there is a secondary problem of people wanting more and more on their screens and having higher resolution screens to support it, and then the people for one reason or another want to run at a lower resolution, and how does the GUI designer construct the GUI in a way that it works for these different groups. No solution is going to be perfect for 100% of the setups out there.


I'm trying to make sense of this. What do you think? If you don't want to answer, that's fine.

https://qlc.intuit.com/questions/167378-faq-font-size-problems



Edited by deniro (12/22/14 10:14 AM)
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#32270 - 12/22/14 01:34 PM Re: Fonts in Quicken Windows v. Quicken Mac [Re: deniro]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Quicken has been around since Windows 95 (the first Windows version came out in 1996), and before that was an MS-DOS app.

Windows has always really, really struggled with font handling and internal graphics handling, with different versions of Windows taking radically different approaches to how to do it. Even today, Windows has big problems with HiDPI screens (such as Retina screens), and app writers generally have to implement a lot of their own code to handle hi-res screens. For a great example of what happens when apps don't implement their own internal ways to deal with it, see what happens when you try to run Photoshop CS6 for Windows on a computer with a high-res display!

If Quicken still contains legacy code from older Windows versions, it makes sense that trying to change the font and/or the scale of the user interface would be a major nightmare.

The right thing would be for Intuit to bite the bullet and modernize their code. Other app vendors do this. Hell, I do it with the programs I write, and I'm not a four-billion-dollar multinational corporation!
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#32271 - 12/22/14 02:33 PM Re: Fonts in Quicken Windows v. Quicken Mac [Re: deniro]
joemikeb Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
At this season of the year with one version or another of Dicken's Christmas Carol appearing almost nightly on one cable channel or another the image of Marley's chain is an apt simile to the code in Windows and for that matter many older Windows and Mac applications. Like Marley's chain they are dragging around a huge legacy of ancient code.

A complex older application like Quicken or Photoshop or operating system like Windows represents tens, even hundreds of thousands of expensive time spent in design, development, and debugging — which of course translates into millions of dollars in investment. Virtually all of that legacy code was developed using the Procedural design and development style that was dominant at the time. Procedural code is implacably logical and can be exceptionally efficient in execution, but at the same time it also tends to be far more rigid and difficult to modify and test. Any modification anywhere in the code can have unintended consequences in seemingly completely disparate parts of the program. As a result cost benefit analysis leads developers to only reluctantly touch working program functions and to add new features and fix existing bugs with hacks and patches pasted onto the hoary old code base. For designers and developers to even suggest starting over from a clean design sheet would send the accountants and management into paroxysms of fear and a frenzy of firing anyone associated with the suggestion of a coding restart. In truth the cost simply could not be justified in most cases. Leaving the situation described in your quote. Thus the Quicken you are attempting to use today. So yes, your quote makes all sorts of sense to me and Quicken is far from the only developer guilty of the same things.

Apple was struggling with the same decision and an OS (9) that simply could not be adapted into a modern multi-tasking, multi-threading, multi-user OS. It was at that point Steve Jobs returned to Apple and had the economic courage, and technological foresight to scrap OS 9 completely and start over with the Unix based OS X. Along with the Unix kernel, OS X brought with it the relatively new Object-oriented design and development and even the Objective C which supports the Object Oriented environment known as Cocoa. OO is arguably less efficient that procedural code in execution, but the cost of developing and modifying reliable software is enormously reduced. OO also makes it easier for developers to take advantage of functionality provided by the OS and in fact automatically adapt to changes in the OS. Following the advent of OS X several small Apple developers took the courageous step of dumping their old code base and moving into OO. I think the plethora of apps for iOS and OS X on the app store are a testament to the long term effect of Apple's decision and App Store sales have created a lot of millionaire developers. Unfortunately the complexity of modern accounting and tax software pretty well rules out the one or two person software development shops in that arena.

I have not looked at it on Windows, but Moneydance is a credible replacement for Quicken and available on Windows, OS X, and a variety of Unix platforms. It does not have all the features of Quicken like home inventory, but it does have all the major accounting features.
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#32272 - 12/22/14 03:13 PM Re: Fonts in Quicken Windows v. Quicken Mac [Re: joemikeb]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
In a lot of ways, object oriented programming has been with the Mac from the start. The old-fashioned resources that were stored in a file's resource fork were objects; the idea was that you could modify those objects (which often represented things like user interface elements) without touching any of the code associated with them.

A big part of modern code design is separating the user interface from the logic. In the bad old days, procedures would write to the user interface directly, placing text into a window or modifying a dialog's appearance or function; nowadays, (good) programmers strive to separate the code's procedural functionality from its user interface as much as they can.
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#32285 - 12/23/14 09:16 AM Re: Fonts in Quicken Windows v. Quicken Mac [Re: tacit]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
Thank you for everyone's prompt, thorough, complex responses. Interesting.
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#32295 - 12/24/14 06:34 AM Re: Fonts in Quicken Windows v. Quicken Mac [Re: tacit]
joemikeb Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: tacit
IThe right thing would be for Intuit to bite the bullet and modernize their code. Other app vendors do this. Hell, I do it with the programs I write, and I'm not a four-billion-dollar multinational corporation!

As a software developer I would do, and have done, the same thing as you, because we are looking at the long term cost/benefit. But Software developers do not run multi-billion dollar corporations — the MBAs and Wall Street bankers do and their focus is invariably short term profit. Wall Street constantly berates Apple for spending too much money on research, engineering, and product development because of that short term view.

I worked as a software design engineer for over thirty years at one of those multi-billion dollar companies whose bread and butter was, and is, creating state of the art electronic products. Because of pressure from Wall Street about spending too much money on advanced research that might not show a profit for 10 or 15 years the company founders and senior corporate officers got together with their counterparts from other electronic technology companies in the area and privately funded an independent research institute to do long term advanced research out from under Wall Street financial oversight. That research institute eventually became the University of Texas at Dallas.


Edited by joemikeb (12/24/14 06:35 AM)
Edit Reason: clarification
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#32365 - 12/31/14 09:37 AM Re: Fonts in Quicken Windows v. Quicken Mac [Re: joemikeb]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
An update based on my recent use of Quicken 2015 Starter Edition for Windows:

You can change the font and font size in the register and in the reports, which is what most people care about anyway. I would like more choice than "use large font" for the menus and toolbars and sidebars, but that's not going to happen. This seems to be the case with Windows in general. Some fonts you can change. Mac still wins on screen appearance.

I haven't entered any data yet, but so far it looks like a better program than Quicken Deluxe 2007 for Mac, which is what I've been using, though the interface in Q2015 isn't as clear or attractive. This, too, I find true of Windows. Too much clutter, too much info coming at me that I don't want or need. And there is often no option to get rid of it. I don't need online banking, but there is an online banking toolbar at the bottom of the check register which takes up screen space and cannot be removed.
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#32502 - 01/16/15 08:43 AM Re: Fonts in Quicken Windows v. Quicken Mac [Re: tacit]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: tacit
In a lot of ways, object oriented programming has been with the Mac from the start. The old-fashioned resources that were stored in a file's resource fork were objects; the idea was that you could modify those objects (which often represented things like user interface elements) without touching any of the code associated with them.


"I don't think that word means what you think it means" wink

at least in my arena, "object-oriented" refers to how data structures and the functions that operate on them are related.

object-oriented:


class COLOR
properties RED,BLUE,GREEN
function ColorIsSame(OTHERCOLOR)
if (my.RED=OTHERCOLOR.RED and my.BLUE=OTHERCOLOR.BLUE and my.GREEN=OTHERCOLOR.GREEN) then
return YES
otherwise
return NO

program:

if MYCRAYON.ColorIsSame(YOURCRAYON)
say "same!"
otherise
say "different"

notice how the program doesn't have to bother with the details of figuring out whether two colors are the same. it just asks the color to do the dirty work. This is helpful if you add another property, like ISGRAYSCALE. If you add that property, and are NOT using object-oriented programming, you'd have to hunt down every place in your program that you were working with a COLOR and possibly change it. COPY is another good instance. If you add a property, everywhere you COPY the object you'd need to modify code. With OO, you just do a NEWCRAYON = OLDCRAYON.MAKECOPY and let the COLOR do the work. Adding properties to COLOR won't break your code all over the place.



non-oo program:

NEWCRAYON.RED=OLDCRAYON.RED
NEWCRAYON.GREEN=OLDCRAYON.GREEN
NEWCRAYON.BLUE=OLDCRAYON.BLUE

... NEWCRAYON.GRAYSCALE = OLDCRAYON.GRAYSCALE <-- you have to add this line, possibly in many places scattered around


oo program:
NEWCRAYON=OLDCRAYON.COPY

that's it. you never have to touch that code. you make the above change in COLOR, once, only.

wait, we need to track if that color is in the gamut on the new laser printer. we need to add a property PRINTERXXSUPPORTS. Or maybe we need to add a whole array so we can track support for all five of our printers! Suddenly it becomes a huge headache to modify all the places we are copying or accessing colors, unless we are OO. It also greatly increases the chance you miss something somewhere and make a difficult-to-find bug.
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#32517 - 01/16/15 01:26 PM Re: Fonts in Quicken Windows v. Quicken Mac [Re: Virtual1]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
The style of object oriented programming you describe has been part of the Macintosh MPW (Macintosh Programmer's Workshop) IDE and development environment since at least the mid-1980s. In fact, MPW was used to teach object-oriented programming since at least 1989:

http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=73529

MacApp, the MPW application framework, was an object-oriented programming framework, built first in Object Pascal and then in C++:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacApp


Edited by tacit (01/16/15 01:28 PM)
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