What Is a Spreadsheet Application


In this chapter, I attempt to clarify how people use spreadsheets in the real world. This is a topic that's germane to this entire book because it can help you determine how much effort you should devote to a particular development project. By the time you finish this chapter, you should have a pretty good idea of what I mean by a spreadsheet application. And after you've made it through the rest of the book, you'll be well on your way to developing your own spreadsheet applications with Excel. But first, let's get down to the basics.

♦ A working definition of a spreadsheet application

♦ The difference between a spreadsheet user and a spreadsheet developer

♦ A system for classifying spreadsheet users to help you conceptualize who the audience is for your applications

♦ A discussion of why people use spreadsheets

♦ A taxonomy of the basic types of spreadsheets

You've probably been working with spreadsheets for several years, but chances are good that your primary focus has been on simply generating spreadsheets to get the job done. You probably never gave much thought to more global issues like those discussed in this chapter: the different types of spreadsheet users, how to classify various types of spreadsheets, and even basic questions such as why people use spreadsheets. If the title of this book attracted your attention, it's important for you to understand these issues so that you can become an effective power-programmer. I first discuss the concept of a spreadsheet application. This is, after all, the desired result of your power-programming efforts.

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