[kwlug-disc] What's the simple next level beyond OpenOffice Base?

Khalid Baheyeldin kb at 2bits.com
Sat Nov 27 10:19:35 EST 2010

On Sat, Nov 27, 2010 at 1:54 AM, unsolicited <unsolicited at swiz.ca> wrote:

> Since you are already using spreadsheets but consistency is the issue,
>> why not use Google Documents, which has hosted spreadsheets, that
>> people can collaborate on simultaneously.
> I've tested Google Docs. There is no data consistency / validation
> facilities within it. It just hasn't gotten that far, yet.
>  And you can also upload your existing Open Office sheets in it, so setup
>> is quick.
> Yes. But, for example, I uploaded to it with some cells data validated.
> Then brought it right back - the data validation was gone. I tried it both
> ways - they have 2. One that facilitates online editing as well, the other
> where it is merely storage. I did not expect the storage to change the file,
> but it did.
> Google Docs won't do here.

It seems that you already have logic inside your spreadsheet, and that gets
lost when you upload the sheet. You may be using OpenOffice specific
validation or macros.

This is the start of "code sprawl". Instead of spreadsheets being just data,

they contain code (business logic) in them, and in effect, you have an

An application is something you have to maintain for many years to come:
debug, modify, extend, ...etc. They have a life of their own, and require
time and effort to continue to exist. Application development is not a one
time thing. It is an on going effort.

So, whatever you decide to replace that with, take this into account. For
better or for worse, you have an application that needs to be maintained
for the foreseeable future.

All the online hosted databases look appealing at first, but with such small

companies, I am uncomfortable with longevity and lock in. Your code
AND data are at the mercy of that company. You can spend countless hours
developing on their platform, and if they raise their rates, or go under,
are done. It is all wasted effort, AND your data is gone. There is no

At least with Google, your data is still downloadable, and they will not
down for some time.

Consider something that is LAMP (e.g. a PHP or Python application with a
 MySQL or PostgreSQL backend). You can host it internally (on premises,
on your own hardware) or externally ($20 a month maybe?).

At least it is all based on open source stuff that you can download and
run locally, and the data format is just columns and rows in a database,
that you can convert/manipulate using a myriad of tools, should the need

The Glom path seems like a good one too. If you don't mind sticking with
their data format for the future.
Khalid M. Baheyeldin
2bits.com, Inc.
Drupal optimization, development, customization and consulting.
Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability. --  Edsger W.Dijkstra
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. --   Leonardo da Vinci
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