Sunday, November 30, 2008

ExtJS has a TreeGrid
A couple of great videos via Zbigniew

Avi Bryant's powerful spreadsheet editor that remembers changes that you make by hand and can apply them in bulk to the rest of the lines in your spreadsheet. Note that Avi's a Smalltalk guy, and a more primitive version of this (repeat last replace) has been in the Smalltalk environment for decades. Cool to see that Smalltalk ideas are still proving revolutionary 30 years later :-) (And cool of Avi to keep discovering them and taking them further)

Another way of doing something similar : Mass Edit which puts simultaneous editing cursors under the user's command. Very clever. That's from a video by David Huynh who seems to be involved in a lot of other neat research, like this mashup tool.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Platform Wars post on spreadsheets.
Not making as much progress on SdiDesk.NET as I thought I would. How can Visual Studio 2008 be soooo S-L-O-W? I swear it takes between 30 seconds and minute both to start and stop(!!!) my program executing.

At least with punched cards you knew where you were.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jocelyn Paine is one of the more interesting thinkers about evolving spreadsheets. Here's some recent stuff about components in Google Sheet.
StackOverflow discusses how to keep notes about programming projects : paper notebooks win hands-down.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bill Seitz :

One Product Management rule Of The Day, that I try to impose, against resistance from most people, is Tasks that aren't crucial don't become more important with age. (Of course, if you have a paying client, "crucial" may be filtered via the Golden Rule.) Every task that takes more than 30min (even less?) should be evaluated against "is this the most important thing to do now?" (FoCus). Go ahead and stick that item on a To Do List. But it's ok if it sits there forever.
A blog written on Google App. Engine.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More playing with online spreadsheets.

Here's a cute example. This is an EditGrid spreadsheet that pulls book data from Amazon (including price in dollars), currency data from Yahoo, and then calculates the price in pounds of the books. It's a "calculator" meaning that I've set up only one field to be editable (the search term for the book, in the white cell) and you can change this in your local copy, without it changing my original.

Looks like spreadsheets really are evolving to be the online user-programmable dashboards which people can use to create and publish their own mashups and other software. Very exciting.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So I created a CollabFinder profile.

Now, what would be really smart would be a way to import my StackOverflow rating into it.
It's definitely SdiDesk week this week. Watch the repository.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

PythonCard, the Hypercard / VB-like python development environment maybe being forked and revivified.
Interesting new Subtext programming language presentation. (Schematic Graphs)
Quick answer to the guy who used yesterday's Form Experiment to ask what's happening with SdiDesk ...

Here's the status report :

1) In the last couple of weeks I quit my job and moved back to the UK ... which has been taking up quite a lot of my time and energy.

2) Once we've settled in, I hope I can get some time to focus on my projects ... including SdiDesk (and GeekWeaver, MTC etc.) The good thing, no more distractions from my previous demanding day-job. The bad thing, after a brief holiday I need to find work in the UK. (Offers, tips and suggestions are, of course, welcome)

3) SdiDesk was converted to VB.NET this year. And the source-code in progress is available on Google Code.

4) I am NOT a VB.NET programmer, and frankly, from the little I've played with it so far, I'm not very excited about getting more involved. I admired VB exactly because the combined language + IDE made Windows programming mindlessly easy. Throw away that virtue (as VB.NET seems to have done, and I'm blaming the new, incredibly sluggish and cluttered VS2008 as much as changes to the language) and it has little to recommend it against other languages.

5) On the hand, I'm a pragmatist and often able to find something interesting pretty much anywhere. I also know that in a recession I may not be able to be too fussy when it comes to getting a job. So I will be spending a bit more time over the next month or so tidying up the VB.NET codebase, fixing some egregious issues, and making an installer. It's going to be useful to me to be able to say that I can operate in the VB.NET world, and produce working products.

6) Longer term, my preference and commitment is still to a Python SdiDesk-like thing. And most-likely a Python server with UI in the browser (javascript etc.) I've cooled towards the idea of Flex (mainly because my trial copy expired and I remembered all the problems of depending on proprietory software)

The attraction of anything other than the browser has always been the vector drawing in the network diagramming part of the software. But I'm sure that if I just wait a little bit longer, the browser will eventually be able to handle this too.

7) As always, I'm not unaffected by user feedback and other things going on in my life :-) ... if there's suddenly a surge in interest or demand for a VB.NET SdiDesk then I may reconsider.

8) Joe Question asks : "how risky is it to commit myself to SdiDesk.NET then? What about all my pages?" Answer : SdiDesk.NET reads your existing PageStore files. There may be some issues with the size of the diagrams, but everything works. If it doesn't, tell me.

However, you can't even try SdiDesk.NET currently unless you're a VB programmer because it's only available in source form. There will certainly be a build for end-users this year and it will read your existing PageStore. The main reason you want this is if you're an existing SdiDesk user who has moved (or will move soon) to Vista where the old VB6 version won't run.

I'm always committed to upgrade compatibility. You'll be able to move your existing SdiDesk pages to SdiDesk.NET, and you'll be able to import them into a future Python version.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008