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Thread: Google Docs Spreadsheet for *.sbp file collaboration?

  1. #1
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    Default Google Docs Spreadsheet for *.sbp file collaboration?

    As per Bill Young's suggestion, I checked out the Google Docs Spreadsheet to evaluate whether it can be used for collaborating on and modifying a shopbot cut file.

    After a little digging, I found the following....
    ---
    Each spreadsheet can be up to 10,000 rows, or up to 256 columns, or up to 100,000 cells, or up to 40 sheets -- whichever limit is reached first.

    Each user has a limit of 1000 spreadsheets and the limit on spreadsheets open at one time is 11.

    You can import spreadsheets up to approximately 1 Mb in xls, csv, or ods, txt, tsv, tsb format.
    ---

    Well, the 10K row limit leaves this open for smaller cut files, but don't try 3D. ;-)

    Are there any Google Docs users out there who have used the spreadsheet to work on shopbot files?

    -Scott

  2. #2
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    Have you considered open office? It is an opensource project has a spreadsheet that rivals excel and its free.
    http://www.openoffice.org/
    it also has a wordprocesser database etc
    John

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply John.

    I do have Open Office on one computer and Excel and Manifold on my design computer.

    Manifold (www.manifold.net) is a very cool GIS program that can be used for vector manipulation OR database manipulation. I use this frequently for shopbot files.

    My own interest in the Google Docs was more in the ability to collaborate on a file. So while I see that you can indeed collaborate on simple files, it's not the program to use for "heavy" work.

  4. #4
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    hey Scott,

    That was my thought on Google Docs too...that it's something that anyone can use without having to install anything. I use it all the time for collaborating on Docs and it's really pretty amazing for a free application.

    Bill,

    p.s. Do you have any experience with spreadsheet formats? I've added report-writing to the ShopBot Odometer in ShopBot Labs and am using a csv file for spreadsheets. The csv format doesn't let you specify any formatting, though, so I'm looking for other options. Any thoughts?

  5. #5
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    You can import a CSV into OO Base and then apply whatever filters etc you want on it. Granted it isn't a spreadsheet, but the advantage of being able to handle larger datasets far outweighs the little work arounds you'd need to do to manipulate the data. It's pretty easy to do a make table query and filter with basic SQL commands & then output whatever way you want. I've used MS Access for years to manipulate SBPs, so I'll stick to that for now. The nice thing about Base is that you can just load it on a thumbdrive and take it anywhere & use it on any computer without any installation.

    -B

  6. #6
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    Sorry Bill. I use them only for calculations and never tried to write formatting into them (if I even understand that right).

    Thinking about this lead me to do a quick search for an old program I once knew, Crystal Reports. I see it's still alive at www.businessobjects.com

    The Wikipedia reports that MS Visual Studio has an OEM version of Crystal Reports bundled in. Can that help?

  7. #7
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    You don't need Crystal...it just takes data and arranges it to make it all pretty for reports etc. All the functionality you need is to be able to store things in a table (like each comma delimited row of an SBP) and query that table (ask the right questions to get the data you need) - This is something that you can't do with a spreadsheet, especially if it is more than 64,000 lines or so. This is why I like using a a database tool like MSAccess or similar. You can still create the pretty reports just like Crystal, but they serve no practical purpose in the land of SBP.

    By simply changing the extension of an SBP to a CSV or TXT you can import directly into a table. Then using a 'Make Table' query in design view, drag the columns you want, where you want them and add any kind of filtering you need. It will make a new table, keeping you original data intact. Then you can export it as a txt or csv & just rename it with an sbp extension. It makes it easy to swap columns, add new ones or change vast amounts of SBP code when it is impractical to do it by hand.

    It's been a while since I've left the programming life behind (can't believe how much I have forgotten) - but I thought there was a way to declare a variable type as a 'database' that could be queried like any other within VB or .NET. Like I said it's been a while - but it's worth looking into for those that know how to program in VB.

    -B

  8. #8
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    quote:Do you have any experience with spreadsheet formats? I've added report-writing to the ShopBot Odometer in ShopBot Labs and am using a csv file for spreadsheets. The csv format doesn't let you specify any formatting, though, so I'm looking for other options. Any thoughts? - Bill Young


    Bill, If you can be a little more specific I think I might be able to give some help. I do a lot of programming on windows and could offer you some solutions either quick and dirty or slick and fancy.

    When you say "formatting" what do you mean exactly? How are you trying to present data?

  9. #9
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    Hey Brady,

    I agree that a database is much more powerful, but for things like looking at the output from the system log, a spreadsheet seems easier to use to me. I can open a csv file directly in Google Docs spreadsheet or Open Office Calc and do basic tasks like re-sorting or adding up columns to figure out job times, but for the life of me I can't get the info into Open Office Base no matter what I do.

    Of course it may have something to do with me being clueless about databases...the wikis use MySQL to store everything, and every time I have to work with them I'm scared I'm going to mess something up!

    Bill

  10. #10
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    Hey Eric,

    I can output the data just fine and it shows up in the right columns, but when the csv file opens, the columns in the Spreadsheet are always a fixed width so there may not be enough room for things like the filename or column headers. All the ShopBotter has to do is make the columns wider by dragging the dividers but it bothers me that it looks funky when it imports...I'd like to have them autosize to fit the data somehow or be able to specify the column widths in the file.

    Maybe csv isn't the right option?

    Bill

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