Why People Like Spreadsheets So Much

Business applications in use today are based on a variety of software platforms.  The primary business tool used for maintaining tabular datasets is clearly spreadsheets.  Web-based and thick-client applications offer better data integrity enforcement and change control, but often lack many of the benefits of spreadsheets.  The two primary reasons why users like spreadsheets, and are therefore willing to live without the data integrity enforcement and change control features of software applications, is the ability to sort data on multiple columns and the ability to update and/or add multiple records of data with a single “save” action.  Without these features, the workflow design is less-efficient and wastes end-user’s time

Thick-client application development is accomplished with a variety of grid control components that try to simulate a spreadsheet, but after displaying multiple records, they usually lack an ability to sort on multiple columns without a lot of customization.   Grid controls are usually read-only, require multiple clicks to edit a single record at a time , and hamper the efficiency of process automation.

Web-based applications usually have the same issues as their thick-client counterparts.  The DataGridView is read-only and multiple clicks are required to save changes on multiple records.  Web-based application development also does not typically include any ability to sort on multiple columns.

End-user support for spreadsheet applications is a challenge that can’t be solved by sharing files on a shared cloud space or server hard drive like Microsoft Sharepoint.  Sharing a spreadsheet file does not make it multi-user, and further complicates any attempt to enforce data integrity or manage change control of your tabular data.

Another feature of spreadsheets that drive users to them is the ability to copy multiple rows of data into new rows of data.  No thick-client and only ONE web-based application, Transaction Editor, allows a user to copy existing rows to create new rows of data in a data integrity-controlled environment.

Konduit’s Transaction Editor is unique in that it solves all of these problems with a single platform and support service.  It can replace your spreadsheets with a robust web-based application that offers a workflow design that reduces clicks to complete multi-record updates, allows multi-column sorting, and the ability to copy multiple rows of data to facilitate adding new data records.  Transaction Editor combines the ease-of-use of a spreadsheet with  the robust data integrity and change control management of  a truly multi-user database application.  It even supports multi-table relational data integrity backed by professional database development and design.

Freelance Web Programmer for Small Business

Marketing your services as a freelance web programmer is a tough gig.  But doing so in the United States Software Development Market has become increasingly more challenging.  Optimizing your website for search engines, advertising through Google or Facebook, and sending countless postcards and emails are just no match for the well connected and HR-focused efforts of recruiters.  The old adage “it’s who you know rather than what you know” that drives your success is still true.  But as a provider of application development services, getting you to know me is more than half the battle.

Technology recruiters are extensions of large corporate HR departments.  They work their network of buyers and sellers to earn their healthy markups.  HR Staffers specialize in labor law.  Technology recruiters find candidates with specialized skills.  The problem is, if you are a small business owner without a techno-priest advocating for a specific set of skills, you are left with thousands of technology choices and nowhere to turn for a solution to workflow design and application development.  Oftentimes, a power user or student will have provided a “temporary solution” in Excel or Access that is difficult to support as the business requirements change.

I’ve worked for plenty of recruiters, but recent experiences have demonstrated that disintermediation by web-based freelancer project posting sites are attempting to take market share from sites like Dice.com and Guru.com, who have been around much longer and are more supportive of recruiters.  Some are trying to replace recruiters entirely by claiming to have vetted their applicant’s skill sets.  Unfortunately for them,  recruiting is a local business founded on years of developed relationships.

I don’t know if recruiters ever get calls from small business owners looking for help.  But if they do, I expect that their lower budgets and inability to sign for a minimum engagement of three or more months would prevent a deal.  So the small business owner has to ask a friend, their desktop support provider, their PC/Printer/networking retailer, the local Small Business Association chapter, or local technical college (collectively “small business associates”) for a referral.

What if any of these small business associates were able to refer someone who can help them with a small project and is available within three times zones, can provide continuous support, and costs a mere fraction of the cost of hiring a full or part time application developer?  That is what Konduit does. And we are willing to share with small business associates some of this continuous micro-revenue stream for simple referrals that result in new subscribers.

I have provided on my website TransactionEditor.com a random display of the descriptions of projects we are bidding on.  You can find this at the bottom of the “Portfolio-Your Application” page, under the heading “Posted Projects (RFQ,RFP) Suitable for TEd“. This helps our referrers understand the scope we are focused on.  This should also help small business owners determine whether we might be able to help them.  Along with the description, I rate the quality of the mostly unaltered description as Good, Better, Best:

  • Good = Vague description, but function-related rather than skillset-related.
  • Better = Majority of functionality within TEd capability, but some items require clarification.
  • Best = Well documented functional description of requirements.

With over 20 years of experience, my services also include database development, application development, and workflow design.