WikiCalc, 12, databases and some tips & tricks

  • Hi all,

    I thought it's time to add at least one post before the new year is here.

    WikiCalc & The Web
    The Father of the very first spreadsheet software, VisiCalc, Dan Bricklins, has now launched a new interesting project – WikiCalc, which will bring us one step further to using webbrowsers as an interface and to calculate on the web.

    You can take part of it on the following site:

    Personally, I value his standard of work very highly.

    Unfortunately, the coming Office Live from Microsoft does not include spreadsheeting on the web as the title may indirectly suggest. It seems to set focus only on managing projects and general business information.

    For further information please see: Office Live

    Excel 12
    One important aspect when it comes to new releases of MS Office is that new versions are likely to compete only with older versions of the suite.

    This situation put a high demand on Microsoft to present great news that in return will motivate corporates and organizations to upgrade to the latest available version. Competition is always a great situation for all of us but unfortunately there exists no real competition when it comes to the Office suite.

    Without going into technical details it seems that with the coming release of Office 12, ie; Office 2006, they have managed to create big news and to some extend great news too.

    From what I can see, the next version will change the paradigm on how to work with the softwares in the Office suite and it will probably mean that corporates in the education sector will find a new source for income as well as all the publishers.

    Unlike previous releases, this time Microsoft has adapted the marketing channel blogging to both present all the “whistles and bells” and also by viewing all the news create a growing demand for it. After all, it’s per se a one way communication only.

    One important aspect that will be of interest to follow is if Microsoft will accept and support the new standard OpenDocument format or not.

    However, no matter what, in the end it will be “business as usual” and the Excel community will just add a new version to solve problems with (and create new problems with!).

    If Microsoft really want people to upgrade they must also reconsider the licence agreements as well as the price models.

    Personally, I’ve decided to see Excel as a core presentation layer and therefore I am only interested in the ability to exchange data between Excel and central data storage places.

    For those of You who have not yet found your way to the present blogs about the coming new version of Excel & Office here is a list of the available blogs:
    Microsoft Excel 12
    An Office user interface
    Microsoft Publisher and PDF
    Office XML Formats

    The rapid increasing general interest of databases and data storage seems to push several vendors to provide us with free versions of their databases. In my experience the free databases offer us good opportunity to both explore and learn more about them. Of course, one major reason for the vendors to provide us with kind offers is to create a demand to buy their full blown databases but that should not prevent us from testing the offered databases.

    At present some of the largest vendors has recently released new version of their free databases:

    SQL Server 2005 Express Edition
    Oracle 10g Express Edition
    MySQL 5.0

    Recently I was introduced to, by a new friend to me, the free version, FireBird, of Borland’s database, which is an independent project and not under Borland’s control.

    At present I’m trying to evaluate it and for those of You who want to find out more about it please see the following URL: FireBird

    Diversity – take II
    In my previous post I pointed out my support of diversity and as a consequence I recently launched my own Forum. ExcelKB’s forum should be seen as a compliment to OzGrid and other core public Excel forums and Microsoft newsgroups. It sets focus on Best Practical Practice, Database & Excel etc and is focussed on discussion rather then a core Q&A Forum. For more information please see: ExcelKB’s Forum

    Another new friend to me, Bob Philips (aka xld), has recently become a member here at OzGrid. If You are looking for insightful and well written deeper knowledge about Excel then pay a visit to his excellent site and also check out his tools: xlDynamic

    The With Statement
    There are some really important aspects that should force everyone to use the With – End With statement.

    The benefit of the use can be summarized in the following way:

    • A well structured code which makes it easier to read and also to understand.
    • Reduces the number of bound calls which in return makes the code require less memory space and therefore will be running faster.
    • It’s equivalent to assigning the object to a local variable.

    The following is an example of how to use it:

    Option Explicit

    Sub Using_Structured_Approach()
    Dim p_wbTarget As Workbook

    Set p_wbTarget = ActiveWorkbook

    With p_wbTarget.Worksheets(1)
    .Name = "Test"
    With .Range("A1")
    .Font.Bold = True
    .Value = "Hello"
    End With
    With .Range("A2:A10")
    .Value = Application.Transpose(VBA.Array(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9))
    .Font.ColorIndex = 3
    End With
    .Protect Password:="Secret"
    End With

    End Sub

    Using US Keyboard settings
    In Sweden we use a total different kind of keyboard settings & layout (as well as in other countries) compared with the US settings & layout.

    As a challenge for myself I decided to buy a keyboard with US layout and to use the US-settings with the US-version of Windows XP and Office 2003.

    It’s remarkable how hard it is to change the keyboard behavior and I also find it weird to some extent!

    The benefit so far is that I now understand why we use certain buttons in shortcuts and code in most of the Windows-based software.

    Of course, we can always questioning why I do it at all ;)

    The End
    This year has definitely been different compared with many other earlier years for me.

    For some of You it’s business as usual and the speed in life is high while for other it’s time to deal with some difficulties and also perhaps learn more about Yourself.

    For me it has been a time of truly re-evaluation of my life and what is really important to me.

    When I summarize it I find the following “items” are on top of my list:

    • Health
    • Friendship & close and good relations

    It’s very easy to take these two “items” for granted as other “problems” tend to occupy us and keep us “busy”.

    The bottom line (at least for me) is to stop and start to consider and also put time in our health and relations. Without them the life can be very difficult and complicated.

    Finally, I take this opportunity to thank all my friends (You know who You are) in the virtual life from the bottom of my heart and I wish You all a safe and healthy new prosperity new year.

  • Re: WikiCalc, 12, databases and some tips & tricks

    This is a great post.
    Thanks for taking the time to create such good posts :thanx:

    "The problem with designing vba code completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of a complete fool."