Check out spreadsheets.google.com. Limited time look at what javascript can do for a spreadsheet. I took a quick look and it seems to fit large chunks of what I use Excel or calc, the OpenOffice spreadsheet program, for. Just a quick tour of what I such spreadsheet programs for, and what Google spreadsheet supports:

  • cut and paste, of text and formulas
  • control arrow movement and selection
  • formatting of cells
  • merging of cells and alignment of text in cells
  • undo/redo that goes at least 20 deep
  • sum/count
  • can freeze rows
  • share and save the spreadsheet
  • export to csv and xls

On the other hand, no:

  • dragging of cells to increment them (first cell is 45, next is 46, 47…).
  • using the arrows to select what goes into a formula–you can type in the range or use the mouse

Pretty decent for a web based application. And it does have one killer feature–updates are immediatly propagated (I have never tried to do this with a modern version of Excel, so don’t know if that’s standard behaviour). Snappy enough to use, at least on my relatively modern computer. I looked at the js source and it’s 55k of crazy javascript (Update, 6/9: This link is broken.). Wowsa.

I’ve never used wikicalc but it looks more full featured that Google spreadsheets. On the other hand, Google spreadsheets has a working beta version…

This and the acquisition of writely make me wonder if some folks are correct when they doubt that Google will release a software productivity suite. (More here.) Other interesting comments from Paul Kedrosky.

I know more than one person that absolutely depend on gmail for business functionality, which spooks me. And in some ways, I agree with Paul, it appears that Google “…takes a nuclear winter approach wherein it ruins markets by freezing them and then cutting revenues to zero.”

Personally, if I don’t pay for something, I’m always leery of it being taken away. Of course, if I pay, the service can also go away, but at least I have some more leverage with the company–after all, if they take the service away, they lose money.


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