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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)

On Wed, 16 Jan 2008 13:33:06 -0800
Dylan Beaudette <dylan.beaudette@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Tuesday 15 January 2008 09:57:57 pm Jeff Newmiller wrote:
> > Dylan Beaudette wrote:
> > > On Tuesday 15 January 2008, Henry House wrote:
> > >> On 2008-01-15, wrote Dylan Beaudette:
> > >> [...]
> > >>
> > >>> YES - this is how I would approach this problem if I were in a
> > >>> position to babysit their data. I have put together several LAPP
> > >>> (linux-apache-postgres-php) projects- but only for things I was
> > >>> directly working on. I was searching for some kind of compromise
> > >>> between doing it correctly (i.e. a database) and doing it less
> > >>> incorrectly via SVN or the like.
> > >>
> > >> Well the good thing about using SVN is that at least no data
> > >> will be lost once it is committed. So even if person A
> > >> overwrites person B's work, the data can be recovered (albeit
> > >> with manual intervention). And if this happens it just might
> > >> demonstrate the need for a proper RDBMS-base solution to those
> > >> in charge.
> > >
> > > Yeah... It looks like they will be resorting to their old system
> > > of personal communication mitigated data disaster prevention
> > > (PCMDDP).... When it crashes and burns I think that I will have
> > > them go with an SVN + CSV file setup.
> > >
> > > Thanks for all of the great ideas!
> > >
> > > Dylan
> >
> > I highly recommend using a real database with ODBC client access.
> > Microsoft Access is quite easy for Microsofties to get used to,
> > and has already been mentioned can serve as a front-end for
> > connecting to the shared data. OpenOffice can also present a
> > tabular user interface with no programming.  No programming means
> > practically no maintenance on your part.  They can use a query
> > builder to get subsets of the data, copy it into Excel, and analyze
> > it to their hearts content.  Another advantage of this is that it
> > is easy to copy/paste large blocks of data around (including
> > appending their data to the table) which is not so easy with a web
> > interface.
> Jeff,
> Sounds like a great idea. Want to implement it as a donation? I am
> working with others who do not have the training or time to be
> interested in such things. I advocated something like this last year,
> but they went with the 'email a spreadsheet around' approach. 

I'm not convinced that you've actually played with the OpenOffice
Database idea yourself, becuase it's so easy to set up, and so similar
in interface to a spreadsheet, that you'd kick yourself for complaining
about not having training.

In short, start OpenOffice, click new database, set up the database
connection from the wizard. If you're going to do MySQL, then you may
want to install that first -- connecting shoudn't be terribly hard,
and I doubt installation is either. For now create an embedded
database, and just know that you can use OpenOffice to set up the
schema of a MySQL database when you decide that's the way to go.

Then hop on over to "Tables" and hit "Create table in design view"
Just fill in the names and types of the field, and save the table. Now,
if you double-click the table's name, it will look just like a
spreadsheet. (As long as your guys don't want any formulas in it.) It's
pretty simple, and takes less than 5 minutes to set up.

To be fair, I couldn't copy/paste a range of data from spreadsheet
to database in OpenOffice (it wants to put it all in one field in one
row), but MS Access should be similarly simple to use, and may get rid
of this bug as well.


Ken (Chanoch) Bloom. PhD candidate. Linguistic Cognition Laboratory.
Department of Computer Science. Illinois Institute of Technology.

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