I can build it, I just need to know what kind of bricks.
August 3, 2010 1:18 PM Subscribe
[web programming filter] I need to build a web page that displays spreadsheet data. The data in the spreadsheet changes depending on which user is logged in to the site. Some of the data is preset and some is entered by the user (and saved between sessions).
What might be the most efficient programming solution and the easiest to maintain?
posted by Drasher to computers & internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The 'spreadsheet' data will actually be coming from a database. Some of the row/column information will be from data that is static (the developers enter the data into the database) and other rows and columns will be from data that individual users enter. Each user will be able to see only the boilerplate data and their own data.
[Non-disclosure agreement prevents me from divulging the exact nature of the data. The following is a representative scenario.]
The rows are instances of manufacturers and the columns are criteria for using the manufacturer. The cells will be the ranking of the criteria against the manufacturer.
Example: rows could be the names of adhesive tape producers; columns would be things like price, availability, shipping cost, etc. In this example a user might be given names of national manufacturers and might want to enter names of local manufacturers or an overseas manufacturers.
The data in the cells will be a ranking from 'Poor' to 'Excellent' in five or seven steps and should be color coded for easy visibility.
I want to be able to change the display according to how the user wants to visualize the data. A selection would allow the user to sort according to a certain column. Rearrange the rows and columns. Edit the cell data for user specified rows and columns.
I started with the idea of building the table using CSS. The problem I had with that is how to display the names for the criteria (columns). I wanted the text to be vertical or at least at an angle so more columns would be visible. The only way I saw of doing that was to use something like ImageMagick and dynamically draw the column headings into a graphic whenever the user needed to view the data.
This compounded the problem because the host server does not have ImageMagick configured to be called from PHP code (at least I had trouble). After trying a number of possible solutions, I thought that another method might be easier.
Then I started looking into using Google spreadsheets. I thought I might be able to dynamically generate the data into a tab delimited file and use the Google API to display the data.
Now I am starting to second guess myself again.
I cast my ideas and thoughts unto the waters of the hive...
What is a likely and viable solution to displaying spreadsheet information on a web page where each user sees different information according to the user's data and settings?