Spreadsheetalikes

Excel: R or jupyter for people who are prepared to pay for an inferior version of a free app.

In my view, the unique selling point of spreadsheet is providing a GUI for your data. This is not much of a selling point since a non-spreadsheet statistics programs like R can also have a GUI and better graphing and analytics besides, besides, and the spreadsheet GUI is obtrusive and limiting by comparison. I say this as someone who finds the R language design icky. Spreadsheets as a rule

But this GUI business does pays for itself when it comes to collaborative editing or analysis of your data. In the 21st century there are online collaborative spreadsheets. Sharing the workload is a good thing; hardly a data set worth having was collected by one person. (Although I do want a sneakernet version of these online apps)

Here, therefore, is a list of online collaborative data-analysis spreadsheet-like tools, which is the only kind that is not a pure waste of time.

  • Streamsheets is a spreadsheet for real-time live-updating data. They seem to be node-based, FWIW, and open source apparently. (cource).

  • jExcel is not a full spreadsheet implementation but a javascript widget for implementing spreadsheet interfaces for online stuff. Even handles spreadsheet formulae.

  • stencila is a GUI for reproducible research, like jupyter but for a less-technical crowd. (e.g. spreadsheet users). I think it’s based on R?

  • guesstimate is a neat proof-cof-concept probabilistic programming spreadsheet. Monte Carlo propagation-of-error. (source, Blog post)

  • ethersheet is a node.js-backed cypherpunkish spreadsheet made by privacy warriors, much like sibling project etherpad. Requires MySQL.

  • ethercalc is another node.js-backed spreadsheet with

    • explicit design documentation,
    • modern technology, (redis or fs)
    • and an explicit pedigree starting with Dan Bricklin, the progenitor of all spreadsheets.

    On the other hand,

    • It may be a one-person shop, and
    • the interface is dilapidated vintage classic.

    Kind of a HD text mode, with certain shortcomings such as lack of column selection.

  • Google docs offers a spreadsheet, but it does involve giving them your data for free.

There are non-javascript-backed online spreadsheets and also some closed source ones, but srsly, if your browser is running a spreadsheet, it seems like it may as well be full-stack javascript.

Also of note:

  • CKAN “is a powerful data management system that makes data accessible – by providing tools to streamline publishing, sharing, finding and using data. CKAN is aimed at data publishers (national and regional governments, companies and organizations) wanting to make their data open and available.”

    • Seems to have a data table library called recline.
  • treesheets is an open-source data GUI which is not really calculation-focussed but more a hierarchical freeform database.

  • pandas can read Excel sheets into python

  • Soulver is a macOS/iOS app that will do plain-ish language calculations with smart currency conversion etc. (USD30)

  • R’s shiny does some of the stuff that spreadsheets do, being an interactive statistical data app.