A couple days ago, someone on reddit asked what sort of tools for Eve the community was asking for. At first, nothing came to mind, but after deciding to start up a trade empire (read: market stocking), I do have a suggestion after all.
Any time you do any trading, there are a few key things you want to know. What's your buy price? How fast are you likely to sell through your stock (allowing you to replenish and put that profit back to work as principle for the next round)? And, most importantly, how profitable is it for you?
Now, this last bit is actually quite difficult to calculate. To understand it, you need to know the price you buy at, the price you sell at, and the quantity moved. Now, if you're selling one item, that's not that difficult to keep track of. You can open up a spreadsheet and pull the data, then compare the results to see what you're making.
But what happens when you have a hundred different items selling piecemeal as you adjust your prices to reflect the competition? Your sell prices are all different? They're interspersed with other items, with restocks of items you sell through, etc. etc. Your wallet balance can't tell you if you're making money, since your profit is being fed back into your operation.
Plus, you may salvage or loot any number of additional items, rendering "Transactions" useless too. You may be looting missions, looting wrecks from your kills, and repackaging and sellling ships you don't need anymore, creating a lot of mess.
At any given time, your wallet balance is an imprecise measure of your profitability.
So, if there are any enterprising individuals out there, I'd like to see a tool that allows you to track your market orders and calculate profit and loss over time, filtering out unrelated items. In an ideal world, you could customize which items you track, either by a clipboard pull/copy & paste or by tracking items sold on market order. If it pulled directly from the api this would be a tool I'd use every day.
I'm relatively new at trading as a profession. In the past, I've tracked perhaps ten items at a time, and the prospect of doing it with jump freighters, full fittings, modules, ammo, and implants is definitely going to require some additional thinking on my part.
I'd love to hear how other traders do it - not their items and routes, of course, but what tools do they consult every day to do their business? What's the first thing they do when they log in?