| ||Ask HN: Language compiled to Excel spreadsheets?|
34 points by marekr 789 days ago | hide | past | web | 47 comments | favorite |
Yesterday there was a thread about biggest problems with Excel. I’d like to ask you for an opinion on an idea - source code for Excel. The goal is to give people who create models and tools in Excel the advantages of having a source code to what they are building and maintaining.
It is challenging and time-consuming to build spreadsheets that are really solid, minimize the chance of errors, that can be unit-tested and version controlled.
The idea is to create a declarative language which lets you describe fields, tables and worksheets in spreadsheet. You are encouraged to use names instead of cell coordinates. For formulas you just use Excel’s formula language. There’s a simple “compiler” that converts that into a spreadsheet.
Compared to regular Excel:
- you can unit-test the source code
- you can keep it in version control
- it’s much easier to read and reason about (it’s auditable)
- the outcome is a spreadsheet that satisfies the best practices (e.g. formula cells are blocked, input cells are validated).
What do you think about the idea? Who could make a good early adopter?
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