We have considered automating the downloading of data into the calculator, but we decided that there are problems with that. Primarily, it is necessary to have a data vendor that provides "clean" data. The calculator needs only the date, open, high, and close. If a dividend is reported in the data, where will the vendor put it. If it replaces any of the necessary data, it will confuse the program. For example, If you go to Yahoo Finance you might see something like this for IBM.
Date Open High Low Close* Adj Close** Volume
Downloading directly from Google Finance or Yahoo Finance is not optimum procedure. That second line for May 8 would confuse the program. That is a good reason to require the user to visually inspect the data before it is entered in the program. Incidentally, the program does not have places available for "Adj. Close" and "Volume," so those columns should be deleted before the data is entered into the program.
Many individuals have their own source of reliable data. To keep the price of our programs low, we cannot pay for a data vendor's services on behalf of our program users. As you can see from the illusreation, there are potential problems in automating data downloads from free data sources. Therefore, we leave it up to the user to obtain the necessary data. He may use a vendor he is already paying for, or he may use a free source, like Google or Yahoo. What is important is that he review the data to make sure it is "clean," remove data that is not required by the program, and sort the data so that the most recent data is at the bottom and the earlier data is at the top.
It does not take much time to go to a free data provider like Google or Yahoo, copy the data, sort it, and paste it into the program. Once that is done, all that is required is to enter one day's worth of data each day. How long does it take to enter the date, open, high, low and closing price?
An alternative would be to create an interface by which a person could enter the name and connection address of a data vendor and then connect with that vendor. The user would have to pay his chosen data provider for the data. The software would then collect the data for each symbol entered for the most recent 20 days. The problem with this arrangement is that it is much more complicated and difficult to accomplish than it seems on the surface. It would also greatly complicate the program and the requirements for using it. In addition, we think it would require the user to do more trouble-shooting. Finally, the programming effort and man-hours required on our part would mean we would have to charge much more, and all of that would be working against our goal of providing an inexpensive simple product that is easy to use.
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