I got a beta version of Resolver recently and had a decent chance to see what it is/what it does. So here is a (basic) screenshot:

Resolver screenshot

Here is some background from Jon Udel no point me re-typing that right? which got slashdotted here

It is a bit like a spreadsheet with a code editing window tacked below. Both Ross and I have tackled this issue with VBA in different ways in the past. Here is Ross’s code to unlock the VBAIDE Immediate window to float over the grid.

Here is my more limited scripting thingie.

The Resolver code is Python though not VBA. But if you can do VBA you’ll find it very easy to pick up the python basics. And its not just a code window tacked on the bottom. The whole calculation process is opened up for you to code into.

They have it split into

  • Imports (similar to setting refs in VB/VBA)
  • Creation phase (system only)
  • pre-constant user code (put your own formulas in here)
  • constants and formatting (can’t mess in here)
  • Pre-formula user code (can change sheet values etc here)
  • Formula code (no messing in here)
  • post formula stuff (didn’t use this)

So you can code into several of those phases, but still not moff up the systems stuff. You can quickly set up simple UDFs and immediately call them from cells. Apparently you can also reference .net objects from cells too, I didn’t try that. The code editor is similar to VS2005, with code folding, highlighting changed lines etc.

The big thing that caught my eye is the import export feature – web enable a spreadsheet in minutes (or seconds). Import a .xls specify input cells and export as a python app, job done. neat.

The other thing I took a look at was data sheets. Resolver can pull data in from a wide variety of sources.

I’ve only scratched the surface so far, but its pretty impressive. I’m not sure how much extra time I am going to get to delve deeper, but I think this is something to keep an eye on.

With this and all the other cool apps I want to play with its going to be hard to find the time to pay the bills or develop my fee generating skills.



3 Responses to “Resolver”

  1. Ross Says:

    Just signed up to the beta. Just watched the screen cast, doesn’t look like you can build them in to a stand alone app – (they run on a resolver server) – that would be cool!

  2. Giles Says:

    Simon – thanks for taking a look! Hopefully we’ll be adding enough nifty features and writing enough documentation to make it easier for you to find time to look more at Resolver in the future.

    Ross – thanks for signing up for our beta!

    Re: getting our generated code to run outside the Resolver server; the server is a wrapper to make it easy for people to generate web applications, you can export the code – along with your modifications – as an IronPython app and run that without Resolver itself. We need to make the packaging of the support classes (Workbook, Worksheet, Cell) a bit more compact and distributable, but if you want to build a Resolver-generated bit of code into a larger IP application, it should all work just fine!

  3. Ross Says:

    Thanks Giles, thats interesting – I will take a look, when my beta comes though.

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