Implementation Focus: Short Reckonings

By YUI TeamJuly 31, 2009

After having been VP Technology of Webmotion, a Canadian-based Internet services company, for 12 years, Mikaël is currently volunteering for an IT project in Cambodia where he helps with the startup of a Software Engineering and Telecommunications school targeting poor students of the countryside.

Mikaël has worked in software development for the past 15 years. While he has worked on projects of various kinds and magnitudes, he has always been obsessed by user interface aspects and is a strong advocate of Web-based software.

Mikaël had the idea of when he was a student and was often sharing expenses with friends. Having such a tool at the time would have been great but this was before the Web. With the YUI Library, he has found the framework he needed to make this happen. He considers Short Reckonings as both a lab to experiment with the latest Web technologies and his attempt to create the smoothest user experience possible. He was also seduced by YUI because of the support that comes with it.

Please tell us a little about your project. is a free YUI-based Web tool that helps tracking and evening out group expenses. Its light user interface is ideal for coworkers, roommates, travel buddies or family members. Screenshot of Squarespace home page.

Which components of the YUI Library are used on your site?

Short Reckonings uses the following YUI components: Lang, Dom, Connection, Event & CustomEvent, Overlay & Dialog, TabView, DataTable, Calendar, AutoComplete, JSON. The AutoComplete control allows for faster input of expense descriptions for example. Custom events are used intensively to make the different elements of the application communicate together.

What have been your recent successes?

1.5 years after its beta launch -- which was covered on the YDN Blog -- Short Reckonings has reached a momentum with its adoption by users from many countries. Today, I am pleased to announce that Short Reckonings is no longer in beta. Since its beta launch, a lot of new features and user interface improvements have been made. Among the most significant ones:

  • Support for non-even splits and formulas;
  • Rich widgets such as calendar and autocomplete;
  • Content can be in any language (utf8);
  • Print & export to Excel;
  • Sign in with your Facebook account.
Screenshot of Squarespace workflow page.

Congrats! What about any challenges you've faced recently?

A recent challenge has been the integration with Facebook Connect JS API. Because FB Connect is a young library and is not very stable, using YUI Custom Events to build a YUI layer above it has been the key to make it usable in production environment.

What do you see for the road ahead?

With my current stay in Cambodia, I have become very concerned about making software usable in slow connection environments and offline. The next version of Short Reckonings will support offline usage (with Google Gears or HTML5 offline storage). Once back in Canada, I also would like to release an iPhone version. And of course migrating to YUI 3 will be an exciting experience!