Google Finance killed my weekend project

One annoying thing about Google Finance is that there’s no way to see how your portfolio’s value has changed over time. You can see your cost basis and the current value but none of the intermediate values. Way back when I used to log into MSN Money and record the value in a spreadsheet every day. That didn’t last very long.

Over the weekend I built a tool that keeps track of how much your portfolio’s worth. Every night at midnight it would grab the current value of all your portfolios and store it in my database, and then when you visited my site again, it would display a chart with all of the daily values of your portfolios. I got the entire backend working, and got to the point where the app was displaying all of the daily values on the page in plain text. Here’s my cost basis and a week’s worth of daily values, with some numbers blurred.

This weekend I was going to turn those numbers into a pretty Annotated Time Line using the Google Chart API. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I checked Google Finance today and it turns out that they just built the portfolio value chart into their main product.

Google Finance portfolio view

It’s pretty cool that they put the chart in there; obviously it would have been nice to have visitors to my own site, and I built it so that anyone can log in and check the values, but also a little deflating, that my project won’t be useful for people. Guess I’ll have more time to work on my other projects. In the meantime though, I got better at XML parsing, learned a ton about OAuth, implemented an app with user-specific data for the first time, and got better at programming.

You can grab the code I was using here, or check your own portfolio here.

To learn how you can outperform the Dow by 10%, or to learn more about the app, you should email me here.

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