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Turning a complex Excel spreadsheet with VBA functions into an online app
September 12, 2008 7:06 AM   Subscribe

I want to build a web app based on an Excel spreadsheet using VBA and some Excel Solve functionality. Should I try to build my own online spreadsheet? Or is Microsoft about to release some nifty online development components compatible with Excel and VBA?

I have implemented a fairly comprehensive spreadsheet for generating financial plans based on some inputs about investments, personal profile, risk tolerance, financial goals etc. The spreadsheet used the Solve functionality of Excel and some VBA to iterate through Solves in one place. Other than that, there is mostly just a lot of text and simple calculations involving cells.

Now I want to make this into a web application with a spreadsheet interface that allows some dynamic updating of data (not formulae), and maybe a questionnaire front-end instead of simple spreadsheet input. My question is - should I try to invent my own web app spreadsheet (possibly using components) and separate out the complex algorithmic components which would be too cumbersome to re-invent in my spreadsheet? Or is likely Microsoft will Excel-compatible web app components for development and if I wait, I could save myself re-inventing the wheel?

If I don't wait for Microsoft, what are the best tools for creating a web app (it need not be Windows server based).
posted by Mokusatsu to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I assume you've already considered converting your spreadsheet to one of the web-based spreadsheet applications, such as Google's.
posted by zixyer at 8:36 AM on September 12, 2008


Your only real options are to post your Excel file online for people to download, or to recreate it all as a proper web application; the most popular languages for doing that are ASP (Windows only), PHP, Python or Ruby.

Excel spreadsheets using the kind of complex functionality you've used (Solvers and VBA) don't really translate that well to the web, and trying to jam it together will only bring tears, I'm afraid.

Although it will involve a complete do-over of what you've done so far in a language you may not know, I think you'll be better off for it; I started my career as an Excel/VBA guy and, thanks to scenarios like your one, I'm moving more towards the web application sphere, which not only means more job options, it also means more street cred with your programmer buddies :)
posted by nz_kyle at 4:00 PM on September 12, 2008


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