MacgyverFilter: link sharing using MS Office
November 19, 2009 7:23 PM   Subscribe

Macgyver IT: I want my team to use something like to share links. But since this is ask.metafilter, I can't use the obvious right answer. I need to make something like it myself, using bubblegum and string the MS Office 2000 suite and my knowledge of VB. What would be my best approach?

This is clearly insane, but I want to try (please don't ask why I can't use something reasonable -- I just can't). I don't need the full, just links and tags. I'm also okay with having only one person at a time able to add a link to the dB, and everyone sharing a big ball of links.

I've thought about using an Excel file, but I don't know if there's a reasonable way to do that, or what that way would be. Could that work, or should I bite the bullet and go for Access? Is there a feature hidden somewhere (in Outlook?) that I'm overlooking?
posted by Monday, stony Monday to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
it seems like asp talking to an access database (that's part of ms office 2000, right?) is going to be your best bet.

my brain hurts just writing that sentence, but given your constraints....
posted by flaterik at 7:51 PM on November 19, 2009

I would do this with a spreadsheet stored on a shared drive, and people can put links on the spreadsheet, with tags to the right, and/or add new sheets to the workbook for new categories. Find things with Ctrl-F. I think you're looking to over-engineer this with VB.

Well, personally, I'd start by using a text file on a shared drive until I found some requirement I really couldn't meet with the text file, but I suspect a spreadsheet could help you with tagging.

What, in your ideal solution, could not be accomplished with a shared text file?
posted by pompomtom at 7:54 PM on November 19, 2009

Instead of using Office, just have a shared folder that contains a bunch of URL shortcut files. This prevents the concurrency/versioning problem.

To create a shortcut in Windows Explorer, right-click and select "New > Shortcut", enter the URL, and then use Windows metadata "Tags" field to add your tags. (Though this last bit depends what version of Windows you're on.)
posted by lunchbox at 8:05 PM on November 19, 2009

Response by poster: What, in your ideal solution, could not be accomplished with a shared text file?

Well, for one, there's a certain lack of masochism. But I'd really like to be able to, say, click on "hockey" and see a list of all hockey-related links, and not have to ctrl-f and f3 my way through.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:40 PM on November 19, 2009

It's pretty straightforward to treat Excel like a database.

Create two workbooks.
On the first one, use a row to store the link, another for a description and another for a list of space separated tags.

On a the second one, have every row contain a unique tag word and on every column after that store a reference to the cell/row number in the first workbook of any matching links.

With some minor VB you should be able to string together a decent enough interface for inserting, searching and returning the data. On insertion of a new link, break up the 'tag' string into words and store them in your second workbook.

It'll get slow over time as you're always performing a linear search, but it's not like it'll be hard to export the data once you're ready to move on.
posted by pmv at 10:36 PM on November 19, 2009

You should investigate Sharepoint or Winows Sharepoint service (which is free).
Its based on Office and allows a lot of collaboration.
posted by digividal at 9:42 AM on November 20, 2009

Sharepoint or Access. I can just imagine what a nightmare this would be in Excel. And in Access, you could publish it as data access pages or have a simple VBA output category reports compiled hourly/nightly if you wanted, or simply use the hyperlink datatype and forms. Easy, flexible, could be completed project in an hour or so.
posted by notashroom at 9:46 AM on November 20, 2009

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