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Why Spreadsheets?

#1 User is offline   mickdevlin 

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 02:51 PM

One of the problems with a touch interface is that it is ill-suited to the entry of data in tables. Spreadsheets are nothing but tables and the difficulty with such data entry can be seen by anyone who has used Numbers on an iPad: despite Apple's best efforts, it just doesn't work.

This gives rise to the question about how spreadsheets can be made to work with a touch interface. Indeed, why continue to use spreadsheets at all?

One approach towards eliminating spreadsheets would be to start using databases. Databases are, after all, just groups of tables that can be used to show relationships between various types of data. In addition, the entry of the data is usually via a form, thus eliminating the major disadvantage of using spreadsheets with a touch interface. In addition, most databases, like spreadsheets, use formulas for calculations using the data in tables. Databases can also produce charts.

There are other advantages, particularly when printed out put is required as databases excel at report presentation.
Mick
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#2 User is offline   Keith White 

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 05:08 PM

I'm with you on this one. I always use a database in preference to a spreadsheet - especially FileMakerPro or now Bento. A much nicer experience.
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#3 User is offline   Gillymaru 

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 05:11 PM

Databases may be great but in my occupation everyone seems to use spreadsheets. At least with the ability to use a keyboard, the iPad still has merit.
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#4 User is offline   golfer 

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 05:29 PM

QUOTE (Keith White @ Jun 7 2010, 05:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm with you on this one. I always use a database in preference to a spreadsheet - especially FileMakerPro or now Bento. A much nicer experience.


Hmm, I'm exactly the opposite Keith. Just can't get my head around the concept of databases yet spreadsheets I do without thinking. Horses for courses I guess.
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#5 User is offline   Ken Gracey 

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 05:39 PM

You missed the easy solution, keep spread sheets and get rid of the Ipad





TL
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Ken
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#6 User is offline   mickdevlin 

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 09:06 AM

QUOTE (Gillymaru @ Jun 7 2010, 05:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Databases may be great but in my occupation everyone seems to use spreadsheets.

But why (also refer Keith's comments?)
Mick
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#7 User is offline   Some Random Bloke 

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 10:46 AM

QUOTE (TLCAUS @ Jun 7 2010, 03:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You missed the easy solution, keep spread sheets and get rid of the Ipad

TL


What, you haven't bought one yet, TL? tongue.gif
"I don't believe there's a power in the 'verse that can stop Kaylee from being cheerful...

...Sometimes you just wanna duct tape her mouth and dump her in the hold for a month."
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#8 User is offline   Ken Gracey 

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 04:55 PM

Not a Chance ALEX





TL
Come on 20K




Ken
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#9 User is offline   lumeswell 

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 05:31 PM

QUOTE (mickdevlin @ Jun 8 2010, 09:06 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But why (also refer Keith's comments?)


I think its horses for courses, and really depends what sort of information you are wanting to work with, and how much time you want to spend setting it up as opposed to working with it.

I know this might sound obvious, but spread sheets are really good at manipulating numbers, so if the information is primarily numbers based then I do it in a spread sheet (Numbers if I know its just for me, Excel if I know I have to send it to someone else).

If its something more complex then I will do it in Filemaker (and I have done some big, multi user things, in FileMaker which are still in use 9 years down the track by a team I left 6 years ago - Im pretty happy about that).

If its a simple list of things Im wanting to track (ie, costs of different combinations of equipment etc), or heavy number based (such as calculating different frame related data for an animation) then I will do it as a quick spreadsheet because I can fit everything on one page and I don't have to think about defining fields etc. If I do it in Filemaker I need to make a few files and link them all together, its overkill for the information I need to sort/track.

For example, my wife just started a hobby business, and wanted something to track costs quickly. Now I know I will eventually make her something in Filemaker, but for now 30 seconds and two columns in Excel and she has everything she needs. When the time comes it will be easy to export from one and import to the other, but for now, spreadsheet was the way to go.




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#10 User is offline   mickdevlin 

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 07:23 PM

What if FileMaker introduced a wizard-like feature in Bento and FMP to do that for you? Would that persuade you to ditch spreadsheets, lumeswell?
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#11 User is offline   Keith White 

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 07:54 PM

Well Bento almost is a behind-the-scenes wizard. IF you want a simple database. I think it's, as has been said, horses4courses. I like the opulent feel of (well-designed) databases: one form at a time in a spacious surround. My accountant son-in-law loves the immediacy of the spreadsheet with those powerful formulas lurking in the shadows of every cell.

what's really nice is the way FileMaker/Bento and Excel/Numbers are talking to each other at the mo'. At a simple level (which is where I try to live) it all boils down to List View vs Form View ( from a database perspective)

Is there really an argument?
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#12 User is offline   lumeswell 

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 01:23 PM

QUOTE (mickdevlin @ Jun 8 2010, 07:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What if FileMaker introduced a wizard-like feature in Bento and FMP to do that for you? Would that persuade you to ditch spreadsheets, lumeswell?


Maybe, but not if I have to send it to anyone else, I would still stick with Excel for that.

I know there are probably templates in Filemaker to do some things, but again - 10 minutes trawling through Filemaker templates to find one that does what I want and I can work out, or 1 minute with Excel.

As I said, horses for courses - I use and like both, don't feel any pressure to drop one over the other.
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#13 User is offline   ruelle_smith 

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 05:30 PM

The best solution for that is choose spreadsheet over Ipad. That's I guess one of the few reason why I don't usually get use my Ipad except for games music.
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