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In This Chapter

My goal in this chapter is to provide you with some general guidelines that you may find useful while you learn to create effective applications with Excel.

■ A discussion of the basic steps involved in spreadsheet application development

■ Determining end user needs and planning applications to meet those needs

■ Guidelines for developing and testing your applications

■ Documenting your development efforts and writing user documentation

There is no simple, sure-fire recipe for developing an effective spreadsheet application. Everyone has his or her own style for creating such applications, and I haven't discovered one best way that works for everyone. In addition, every project is different and, therefore, requires its own approach. Finally, the demands and technical expertise of the people you work with (or for) also play a role in how the development process proceeds.

As I mention in the preceding chapter, spreadsheet developers typically perform the following activities:

■ Determine the needs of the user(s)

■ Plan an application that meets these needs

■ Determine the most appropriate user interface

■ Create the spreadsheet, formulas, macros, and user interface

■ Test and debug the application

■ Attempt to make the application bulletproof

■ Make the application aesthetically appealing and intuitive

■ Document the development effort

■ Develop user documentation and help systems

■ Distribute the application to the user

■ Update the application when necessary

Not all these steps are required for each application, and the order in which these activities are performed varies from project to project. Each of these activities is described in the pages that follow, and in most cases, the technical details are covered in subsequent chapters.


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