Collaboration Tools: Writing and Calculating

Rob and I have been working on a proposal/quote over the past week and rather than set up a wiki or add clutter to an existing installation, decided to make use of writeboard. So far it’s been a great help, simple to use, easy to invite friends to (for those times when we need a little extra feedback), and good at keeping track of our updates. As Drew and others have noted, it would be good to have a way of merging updates, but for a simple document like this that’s not something we’ve often needed.

Over the weekend I decided to try out numsum, to see if it could do for costing the proposal what writeboard had done for writing it. Sadly, it won’t. Other than making a spreadsheet accessible to the world, I couldn’t find a straightforward way of sharing it with anyone else short of giving them my username and password. When I tried to create a spreadsheet with more rows than fit comfortably in the spreadsheet pane, I started to get refresh errors. Some row numbers appeared multiple times and it was far from clear how to add extra rows.

I’m sure there are many people in our situation, who would appreciate a nice quick way to create a spreadsheet and share it with a small group. Obviously these wouldn’t be documents where security is critical, but some restrictions would be nice. A spreadsheet is more complex to implement than a text editor, but very basic functionality with a UI as smooth as writeboard’s shouldn’t be beyond a talented web developer. If they could add an option to output as an excel file, I might even pay for such a service.

Until that time, we’ll do the calculations manually and keep it all on another writeboard…

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1 comment

  1. Hi,
    I agreethe NumSum did not live to it’s expectation. It failed to import spreadsheet that had comments attached to a cell. Also some very simple calculation eg. =C2+C3 produced #Value error that I could not get rid off. And I don’t think there is any way of changing the column sizes onan imported spreadsheet. I think I will have to stick to emailing my spreadsheet to myself so it is available on the net for now.