1 Essentials of Spreadsheet Application Development

In This Chapter

  • Discovering the basic steps involved in spreadsheet application development
  • Determining end users’ needs
  • Planning applications to meet users’ needs
  • Developing and testing your applications
  • Documenting your development efforts and writing user documentation

What Is a Spreadsheet Application?

For the purposes of this book, a spreadsheet application is a spreadsheet file (or group of related files) that is designed so that someone other than the developer can perform useful work without extensive training. According to this definition, most of the spreadsheet files that you’ve developed probably don’t qualify as spreadsheet applications. You may have dozens or hundreds of spreadsheet files on your hard drive, but it’s a safe bet that most of them aren’t designed for others to use.

A good spreadsheet application:

  • Enables the end user to perform a task that he or she probably would not be able to do otherwise.
  • Provides the appropriate solution to the problem. (A spreadsheet environment isn’t always the optimal approach.)
  • Accomplishes what it is supposed to do. This prerequisite may be obvious, but it’s not at all uncommon for applications to fail this test.
  • Produces accurate results and is free of bugs.
  • Uses appropriate and efficient methods and algorithms to accomplish its job.
  • Traps errors before the user is forced to deal with them.
  • Does not allow the user to delete or modify important components accidentally ...

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