This is topic Lotus 123...Need for Speed in forum Ask a Geek! at The Geek Culture Forums.

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Posted by TheWitchdoctor (Member # 46854) on April 03, 2012, 16:07:
Actually a question. 123 vs Excel. Which is faster?

I go back to NCR 500's, Honeywell GCOS6 and my pleasure was doing shit on a Wang C88 w/ibm imm.

My skill was with Lotus 123.

Prior to the first Gulf War, I had all the data a Transportation Brigade commander needed for him to go to war. Even a Mattel canteen @ $ .73 each. 90% of this command did go.

I was a CW4, trained as a test pilot but had to fix logistics which I knew very well. Line ID numbers, stock numbers, source, cost, inventory controls, reorder control and I had Manager Over Ride controls. BTW we didn't have modems at the office then, 1990. Command briefings were done at my house and besides a well stocked bar...projector screen off my 286 Zenith...I could do any "What If" command in seconds.

Well my brother, another test pilot, got into the insurance industry, insures most of the hotel/motels in the country, personel, life insurance. At the cost of Zeos 386, I build him a billing system for him that showed every penny.

Well he had ADP IT's come in and changed thing a bit and cost him a bundle.

15 years later he wants me to come out of retirement and make his Excel program better. It's too damn slow for one that can type 60wpm or better with backslash commands.

When it gets down getting things done and extremely fast and accurate, Am I wrong to make him revert to Lotus 123? or whatever? Show and tell can always be done.

Posted by Ashitaka (Member # 4924) on April 03, 2012, 22:45:
I have no idea what calculations are being done. Exel becomes slow if the amount of data being processed becomes too large.

As far as I know, lotus 123 hasn't been around in 14 years. IT is way too out of date.

Your friend needs modern database software programed for his business. Reverting to old technology is a bad idea in my opinion.

on anouther note, what does the rate at which someone types have to do with the performance of the current software.
Posted by dragonman97 (Member # 780) on April 04, 2012, 01:20:
Originally posted by Ashitaka:

on anouther note, what does the rate at which someone types have to do with the performance of the current software.

I suspect it's not so much the performance of the software, so much as the reaction and user flow. i.e. If every time you enter data, you have to jump through hoops to proceed, or something of the sort, it's perceived as being slower.

Mind you, I suspect some of that is simply due to the fact that Excel can be a real pain sometimes in doing annoying things that you really don't want it to do. You simply have to learn what those things are, and how to either work around them, modernize to take advantage of them, or just grit your teeth and put up with them. I fall squarely in the latter category every time I open a .csv/.txt file in Excel, hit Save, get nagged about how I should really choose an Excel format, and then when I exit, immediately after going through that dance, get a warning that I might lose unsaved changes.

Perhaps it's worth trying / LibreOffice?

Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with Excel. I find it to be a great tool for quickly manipulating data -- I often munge stuff with Perl/bash and then kick it into Excel to find neat details. However, it's /meant/ to be a spreadsheet for dealing with numbers, so I find it a bit textually deficient...but that's what vim is for! The Save quirk above falls squarely in my 'hate' category, as does its utterly idiotic form of Copy/Paste. Still, the pros outweigh the cons for me, and I actually love the easier access to certain functions in the Ribbon. (Freeze Top Row is a big improvement, as is the conditional formatting 'quick menu.')

I use at home and it does a perfectly fine job of things. Nothing comes to mind that I can do in Excel that I can't do in OO.o. The only differences to me are cosmetic, and mostly stuff from habit. (e.g. In Excel, the 'cell border' button remembers the last style applied unless you hit the down arrow. In OO.o, it never remembers.) It doesn't have my pet peeve about Save As, but instead, I find its cluttered "Open" dialog irksome. (To open a .txt file as a spreadsheet, you have to scroll down a _huge_ list to get to the spreadsheet formats, as OO.o lists all the formats for each 'app' in one box.)

OTOH, Lotus 1-2-3 is an utter relic, and while it was my first spreadsheet, I don't miss it save for some nostalgia. (I got a little wistful looking at the Wikipedia article and seeing the DOS version. Those were the days...)

Rambling posts of mine today aside, I definitely agree with Ash that a spreadsheet is probably the wrong way to go here. There's no reason an appropriate off-the-shelf (comm. or open source) program shouldn't be able to get the job done, and one that uses a database is probably the right approach. If it's indeed a small business and involves payroll and business operations, QuickBooks might be the way to go. I was a bit skeptical of it until I helped someone whose small business revolves around it -- it looks to be a damned handy program. Spreadsheets can do a lot of things, but just like hammers, they shouldn't be used for everything.
Posted by quantumfluff (Member # 450) on April 04, 2012, 10:53:
Speed for the programmer is a non-issue.
The only things that matter are:
- does it do what the customer needs
- is it convenient for them
- is it reliable

From what you've described, you understand the functions required and have made it convenient enough so the user (your brother) does not have much data entry to do. So, input speed for him is a non-issue. Any deployment environment will do.

As far as reliable - the best way to get that is to not use a spreadsheet. Build a web based system and run it in the cloud - on Amazon EC2 or Google AppEngine. Then, when there is a fire in his office, there is no data loss.

No small business does adequate backups. Keeping your data locally is a liability - something an insurance agent should understand well.
Posted by TheWitchdoctor (Member # 46854) on April 05, 2012, 14:09:
Thanks for the input. Didn't really want to come out of retirement (1994) to fix anothers problem. Bro thinks I have too much time on my hands. Little does he knows what it takes to be on an island, 30 minutes by boat, your it to fix everything there.

I'll have a drink for all of you.
Posted by Serenak (Member # 2950) on April 07, 2012, 20:52:
Not really my field at all, and i concur with all the above comments... but would it not be better to avoid a spreadsheet altogether and build what you need using a database?

Seems to me (unless I am totally not getting the point of this) that using Excel (or an equivalent) is a problem - without more information I am not able to see why you need to do this - for bigger projects spreadsheets are not the solution, a database is what you need

I know almost nothing about SSs or DBs but I do know that if you want to manhandle any amount of data on a regular and repeated basis that a DB is what you want to use... and that you can even (in effect) build a customised application that way - I believe FileMaker and Access (on Windows) secured their positions as "major players" that way...
Posted by Serenak (Member # 2950) on April 07, 2012, 20:53:
bugger - double posted... ignore this one please... TY
Posted by zorgon (Member # 546) on April 10, 2012, 15:35:
I can hear the General now:

"Men, we've got a Y3K problem. Contact Cryo and have them defrost another programmer, assuming they have one that knows Lotus 1-2-3!"

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