Case in point: Microsoft Office. Most people think of the big three — Word, Excel, and PowerPoint — as merely an integrated suite of stand-alone applications, albeit a wildly popular one. Take a closer look, however, and you see that Office is much, much more. Thanks to the inclusion of some robust integration APIs (Visual Basic for Applications, OLE automation, and various add-in interfaces), Office is a commercial development target in its own right. In fact, one of the easiest ways to break into the Windows development marketplace is by targeting Microsoft Office. Make it do something new or better and the world will beat a path to your door.
If you can make a list, you can make a blist. If a blog is a web log, well, a blist is a web list. A blist is a list with some structure.
Didn’t we have the thin vs. fat debate in the early ’80s when we sat at dumb terminals allowing a ne’er seen Cray super computer compile our “Hello World” Pascal assignments? Didn’t fat win? Is this just where we are in the cycle?
I’d like to say cycle. I’d like to say that, while thin’s resurgence is obvious now, it will peak at some point and we will gradually migrate back to something that resembles fat. The problem I have is predicting what it is that will pull us back. What is it about fat that will bring us back to it and why isn’t it preventing the move to thin now? I can accept the argument that I’m simply framing this argument wrong. Maybe some things will stick with thin and others will never make it there.
Let’s talk spreadsheets. I’m pretty confident that no one reading this blog is ready to ditch Excel for an online spreadsheet. What are the issues? What are the must-have features in a spreadsheet?
The number one problem for me is being able to use it offline. There are very few instances where I’m not able to connect, but airports are some of those instances. I’m not paying $8/day to connect to the internet on a 1.5 hour layover. I’ve got to be able to get to my documents and executables in every situation – even if that means I have to plan which documents I’ll need.
For must have features, data validation, decent chart rendering, some sort of scripting, pivot tables, and array formulas come to mind. That’s beyond the basics of what makes a spreadsheet a spreadsheet. I’m sure there are others I’m not thinking of.
I don’t need collaboration, but I do need a templating system. I need to be able to have users create new spreadsheets from an existing template. Do any online spreadsheets have that now?