I just spotted a comment over on El Reg that really made me think. The story was about some possible plastic bag law they are on about implementing in London. Living about as far away from London as is possible whilst staying in England, the bag thing is likely to have a minor (if any) impact on my life.
But the comment – its just a ‘false finishing touch’ designed to make you think all the higher priority issues have been resolved. And we are invited to look around for other examples. That really caught my eye.
Well one springs straight to the front of my mind:
I’m thinking of one spreadsheet model in particular that I had the misfortune to maintain. With a lovely graphical flow chart front end that looked total quality professional. And some of the roughest production VBA I have ever seen behind. (FFT for sure)
I use that code as an example of what not to do in VBA training sessions. At the conf last year another maintainer of that app sat smirking all the way through my slot. I could only show some mild examples for confidentiality reasons, he knew the full gory mess. He left the country to get away from maintaining it.
I’ll be demoing it again this year in my VBA quality slot as I still haven’t come across anything worse.
The visual beauty of most spreadsheets I see is inversely proportional to the underlying quality. The more polish, the more ugly underneath. Of course there are exceptions, but I have learnt to be wary of attractive spreadsheets.
Of course, I’ll hold my hands up to not being a UI guru which may influence my views.
Oh – I’ve just been reminded of another (bit of a cheap shot maybe?). Most people would agree Excel 2007 is pretty easy on the eye, and there do seem to be many eye candy developments, shame then that the code adding up bit didn’t quite work eh? Bit of premature beautifying maybe?
What about you? any other examples of FFT? seen any ‘lipstick on a pig’ spreadsheets recently?