Reply to post: New Spin on 30 year old Spreadsheet Technology

New Spin on 30 year old Spreadsheet Technology


New Spin on 30 year old Spreadsheet Technology

The approach was triggered by the idea of using animation to move data into a fixed focus line rather than move the cursor to multiple data locations. Names and values that make up headings and data in spreadsheets are simply laid down as associated lists in sliding holders in an HTML5 web page. Housed in a NWJS (node-webkit) 'all Web technology' window on the desktop the page with its moving parts transforms into an authentic GUI machine, a novel 21st Century addition to both personal computing and World Wide Web.

The machines create Information Technology (IT) objects (in JSON format) for their owners and collaborators to work on; each object has machine, type and category ids, a label for human recognition, key/value pairs for aspects needed for various tasks and an array of links to associated subsidiary objects. Machine owners store their own stringified objects in text files in locations of their choice.

After parsing the plain text, each name and value to be displayed is made a hyperlink which passes machine and slider id to a universal function. When called the function moves vertical sliders to align the selections and adjusts the hierarchy of selections in a horizontal navigation slider along the top. Animation is needed not just to move data but also acknowledge machine reaction and changes to display.

The first two of the row of four vertical sliders house lists of object labels derived from the link arrays; the third lists the plain or computed values of the last selected object (with value key names as floating text). A fourth holds a list of multimedia options that extends the potential of machines way beyond the scope of spreadsheets.

For example, an animated 3D model can be generated in a NWJS monitor window that has links to machine, selected object and a JavaScript library like Threejs. Selections in the monitor change the machine display and vice versa. Several windows can show different multimedia views of the same object. The machine can also handle an unlimited number of different objects from different sources in a way that avoids coding conflicts.

The machines offer an alternative way of working to that served by spreadsheets. They enable individuals to contribute to and participate in a world wide web of unique IT objects whether stored locally or online for sharing privately or publicly.

Once created, access to an object and selected aspects can be passed to other individuals for different purposes. An IT object can represent anything however big or small provided it has ids, label and at least one aspect to be worked on; an object without links represents the smallest consideration of interest so that the web of objects replicates the world at work with all Web technology. It opens new opportunities for innovation generally, and in automation, recycling, compound search and consensual advertising in particular.

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