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
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.