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XL is

2012-11-03 14:21:19.396441+00 by meuon 5 comments

Overheard in a training video for a website:

Unlike Excel, which is a desktop database, __[Wiki] is a web database...

I cringed, but kept my mouth shut because for the intended audience: Way too many people use spreadsheets for databases.

[ related topics: Video Databases ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2012-11-05 23:50:52.25912+00 by: meuon [edit history]

I've seen N+1 Engineers read fat nasty "smart grid" XML files into Excel, and parse out what they needed (a much simpler and usable CSV format their billing system uses) using VBscript/macros. I've seen Reynaldo Diaz at CEPM (amazing young man) even parse data from PDF formatted reports into SQL databases using Excel and then spit out KMF files for Google Earth using the same data. It's am amazing tool, and the only real one most people have. Lately I have been usng the latest LibreOffice with good results, but I have not dived into it to that level.

#Comment Re: ingenious uses for spreadsheets made: 2012-11-05 21:54:22.676616+00 by: Jack William Bell

I once saw a Lotus 123 spreadsheet (including macros) that was a dungeon-crawl game. It had everything: rooms, user commands, an item inventory, the works. You played it by executing macros in a particular cell.

That was the day I realized just how powerful general purpose computing was. If you could do that with a crappy spreadsheet program, there were no limits to what you could do with full access to the registers and memory.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-11-05 18:48:37.746681+00 by: Dan Lyke

"The street finds its own uses for technology."

"When the only tool you have available to you is a hammer..."

I've actually been thinking that there's room for something in between Access and Excel for... well... as long as I've been looking at computers, but back in the '80s so many better spreadsheets rose and fell (anyone remember 3d spreadsheets?) I've figured that incremental improvements really aren't.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-11-05 18:37:40.213721+00 by: petronius

The thing is, people are often ingenious about how they use the tools they have. I once saw an excel application at a company that built convention exhibits, and the guys wanted to figure out how to tetris together the assembled exhibits in their test space. Since exhibit space is sold in 10x10 squares, he reset the default cell shape to square and filled in the blocks with background colors. I told him even an inexpensive layout program like Visio would make short work of the job, but he pointed out that they didn't give him Visio.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-11-05 01:34:35.763631+00 by: concept14

I made a poster to hang in my cubicle that says "Excel is not a DBMS." Later I handwrote an addendum: "Access is barely a DBMS."