Saturday, January 28, 2012

One more time.....Google Docs Spreadsheet

OK, it's been about two years since my last post, so looking to add these things a bit more often now. This time around though, for say the next year or so, I'm going to focus on just using Google Docs Spreadsheet. (Step 1 for Google is to come up with a catchier name.) I've always said that Microsoft Excel is the "great equalizer" in that it allows us semi capable technologists the ability to create tools / applications that come close to rivaling applications created by the super geeks. It also gives others the ability to "tweak" it to their liking. Something that is not possible with online solutions. Question now is whether Google Docs Spreadsheet is ready for the prime time.

Anyways, having switched to Google Chrome nearly two years ago (never once regretting it), figure it is time to cut the cord and see if Google Docs Spreadsheet is any where near Microsoft Excel. I'm guessing no, but key question then will be is it good enough, and if not what needs to change so that it is. Again, what interests me are the gadgets (that can be shared onto iGoogle), on the fly translations, the data retrieval tools, and the online nature of the tool. As in, being able to provide access to my spreadsheets from virtually any device opens up a huge user base. Yes Microsoft has an online version of Excel, but it's pointless if you can't leverage VBA. (I don't think you can, but someone correct me if I am wrong.)

In looking at the spreadsheets I have done in the past, you can break each of them down into 3 parts:

- The visuals / display
- Calculation / business logic
- Data retrieval

As I start my journey I'm thinking that I'll step back and try and do this the right way this time. So, I'm going to focus on a few things out of the gate. Specifically, I'll be defining and creating the visual experience that I want (think CSS in html terms) in terms of a series of front end or visual templates for my workbooks. So, defining color schemes, fonts, screen layouts, etc.

On top of that, and probably more importantly, I'm going to focus on creating a series of "data" worksheets that can be used / accessed to provide access to various data sets.

Finally, I'll determine whether I need to define a separate set of calculation worksheets that manipulate data from the data sheets for display usage by the visual sheets.

In general, experience has taught me.....focus on getting the data, doing any required calculations and only then focus on the visual experience for the user. So, step 1 is to create a series of data sheets that I plan on using. As my interests lie in fantasy sports (especially baseball) and investing, my first plan of attack is to create a series of data sheets that provide access to that content.

1 comment:

  1. Google spreadsheets is a great tool.Well, there are some other tools which can function better than Google Docs such as CollateBox and Smartsheets, which can prove to be handy tools for maintaining online databases of a reporting tool.Have a look at these tools..