Thoroughly Unusual Itches

July 23, 2010
By

(This article was first published on R-Chart, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)


I have found myself over the years in a rather awkward situation.  I work in old-school, bricks and mortar industry IT shops for the most part.  However, I love many open source projects and identify with many of the values of start up culture.  I started the whole IT thing later in life than most - and hey I've got bills and grown up responsibilities and stuff.  So I exist - rather weirdly - between two worlds.

I also don't have quite the religious fervor for particular technologies that is common among programmers.  I use different tools in different settings, based upon availability, restrictions and what I know.  So to me, the project I discuss here is pretty logical and a good idea.  Nevertheless, I am certain that it will deeply offend.

For those who have come to this site to read about R, this is not about R.  Sorry - really false advertising on my part.

For those who love Ruby, this involves Microsoft products .  

For Microsoft fanboys, this involves open source software .

For those who program in ...don't bother.  You have arrived anyway.

I just uploaded a bit of code to github.  It is simply this: a tiny web application that displays Excel spreadsheets (.xls files) sitting in the directory with the web app.  It requires Windows and Microsoft Excel - because it uses OLE to control Excel rather than reading an XLS directly.

Seemed to me to be a pretty good idea while I was cranking it out.   I once had a manager who asked me to "put a spreadsheet on line."    Google spreadsheets was not in view - further questioning revealed the need to represent data in a database backed web application.  Was able to meet the requirements by banging out a Rails web app against an Oracle database (again the crowd boos).  But I kept the requirement in mind:  put a spreadsheet online.  And so the code as it stands sits on github.

I did not ever use it extensively.  But it did provide a reference to how such a project could be set up.  Add a css and some additional functionality and it will surely be serviceable in a small business environment.

So I scratched an itch... well, no... I guess I sort of brushed it against the wall a bit and decided that was enough.

How was I to know how thoroughly unusual my itches were?

Anyway, please excuse the slightly out-of-the-ordinary rant.  I just finished about 10 hours of work related to a consulting gig.  What's involved?  Old school enterprise technology.  No cutting edge web 10.0 newness and neatness.  I am a bit of a mercenary you see - but I still appreciate excellence when I see it.

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on his blog: R-Chart.

R-bloggers.com offers daily e-mail updates about R news and tutorials on topics such as: visualization (ggplot2, Boxplots, maps, animation), programming (RStudio, Sweave, LaTeX, SQL, Eclipse, git, hadoop, Web Scraping) statistics (regression, PCA, time series, trading) and more...



If you got this far, why not subscribe for updates from the site? Choose your flavor: e-mail, twitter, RSS, or facebook...

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.