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2008 Jan 15 14:25

The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox-tech mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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Re: [vox-tech] collaborative data storage (of excel files)
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Re: [vox-tech] collaborative data storage (of excel files)



Now that I want to find it ... d'oh

There were three interesting things I've run across lately. The first was a study that estimated the cost of bugs in Excel spreadsheets to the U.S. economy. The other two were a history of PowerStep for the NextStep machine, and a different product based on PowerStep that targets the financial market, runs on Windows and costs about $1,000/ person. Both products' marketing argue that they cut down on bugs by having separate formulas that use column names in the code.

I'll keep looking, let me know if you find anything good. I feel this is one of many ways that programmers earn their keep - and as a programmer, I'm glad to see some studies quantizing the cost of spreadsheet bugs :-)

Here are some other related items I found while looking for the older articles:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/06/19/excel_snafu_costs_firm_24m/

Here's a pay article advising against using standalone spreadsheet documents:
http://www.cfoproject.com/documents.asp?d_ID=2842

On Jan 15, 2008, at 12:11 PM, Henry House wrote:

On 2008-01-15, wrote Harold Lee:
[...]
I advocate separating the data and code - some recent studies point
out that bugs in Excel code are actually a widespread and expensive
problem. As you pointed out, even just having a version-controlled CSV
file and linking it in to a spread sheet should provide some protection.
Got a reference? I've long suspected this but lacked documentation to
demonstrate it.

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Henry House
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