Archive for June, 2010

UK Excel Developer conf end of discount

Tuesday, 29th June, 2010

Just a quick heads up for anyone wanting to come to the conference on 12th July (details here).

The early bird discount ends this coming Friday (Fri 2nd July), until the end of Friday its 150 gbp for the day, from Saturday it will be 200.

Please do get your booking in as soon as possible as it makes it easier for us to plan the event.

Bookings have gone well so far, and there are still a few places left.

If you have any questions give me a shout



Famous at last

Monday, 28th June, 2010

You know you’ve arrived when the Magnificent Mike A interviews you for his ‘Road of the Excel Bastards’ series.

Heres mine

I’m looking forward to the others…



Eusprig 2010

Tuesday, 22nd June, 2010

Pack yer party frocks its nearly time for Eusprigs annual conference.

In my opinion this is a must attend event for anyone serious about professional spreadsheeting. It should also be required for anyone contemplating spreadsheet management/migration/quality/control projects. Why make all your own mistakes when you can invest 2 days, a couple of hundred quid and learn from others, bypassing a heap of pain (and cost) for your own organisation/project?

There are two key aspects

  1. The technical conference content, including several schools of thought on best practice (not sure whether to bring my cornering kit, or my gum shield and boxing gloves) spreadsheet quality project post mortems, and lots of original research. And not just wishy washy stuff – proper, well designed experiments that really focus in on key issues. I am particularly looking forward to the slot demonstrating that names make spreadsheets harder to understand. I’ve had plenty of rows on that very topic.
  2. Social/networking – where else do you get the opportunity to buy drinks for big cheeses at the FSA, and big cheeses from the spreadsheet audit/management software vendors, and student bludgers? At least that’s how I remember it.

Full conference details (including dates: Thur/Fri 15th – 16th July, and venue: Greenwich Uni London, England, and agenda etc) are here.

I’m giving a keynote first thing Friday (which seems a bit harsh!).

Why not combine it with the Excel Dev Conf for the full spreadsheet-oholic effect?

Are you going to Eusprig??

If not why not? (serious question) – what would need to change for you to attend?



UK Excel Dev Conf Update

Saturday, 19th June, 2010

One week in and the conference is just about half booked.

The first booking happened between getting the page available on the codematic shop and posting about it here (a gap of about 1/2 hour). (well done Patrick)

The next booking was within an hour of the blog announcement. (well done Mike)

The (very likely) winner of the furthest travelled award, just booked yesterday all the way from the good ol’ US of A (well done Bill).

I have also had a question about other halves, is anyone bringing their (non excelling) partner with them to London?, would they want to meet up with other non participants?

There is still a couple of weeks of early bird discount if you are lurking wondering about coming, get yerself booked on before either

  • a. its fully booked
  • b. the price goes up

It looks like our friends at Microsoft will be providing some freebies to give away which is a great sign of support.

I was also asked for a link to the venue

its here at a training company called Skills Matter

and its Monday July the 12th in London, England.



Comedy support

Wednesday, 16th June, 2010

I had a call from a user the other day about a report that had stopped working.

I had a look at the VBA, not bad, but damn hard to follow (suck a loads of stuff into a random set of arrays of various dimensions, shuffle it and miraculously drop the right values into a range elsewhere.) well normally the right values – now it wasn’t working right.

I adjusted the caller parameters to fit a minor change in the data, tested it and had no clue if it was working. (It’s that type code that gives you no clue what its doing just presents the answer (Paul Daniels stylee)). I sat with the user to understand what it was meant to do. Lots of buggering around and a few back and forths, until it finally dawned on me:

The last few rows were being cut off by the print area!

Change the print area, user happy, ticket closed. Only about a bazilion hours longer than it should have taken – d’oh!

I truly can’t remember the last time I printed out a spreadsheet, and thats my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Do you print out much stuff?



Excel Dev conf details

Saturday, 12th June, 2010

The draft (detailed) agenda is here.

The event location is here.

You can get yersen booked on here. Its currently 150 quid for the day (with early bird discount), that will go up to 200 at the start of July, if there are any places left (all plus vat). I didn’t work out how to do a declining stock thingy with the codematic shopping cart so I’ll just have to warn people as we get near the room limit and then disable the shop item.

Please tell everyone you know who might be interested. I think this will be an excellent event, and the first one I’m aware of that actually addresses the business of selling Excel stuff. Add in a bunch of technical content on the latest trends in corporate development, and plenty of time for questions and chat, an informal atmosphere, and I reckon we have an excellent well rounded event coming up.

If there is something you specifically want to be covered let us know. If you have questions for the panel let us know that too.

Accommodation-wise I suspect many of us will be booking into the nearest/cheapest travelodge.




Thursday, 10th June, 2010

I just noticed at work that the average age of the Excel team is about 10 years more than the average age of the .net team.

How old are you, and what would you say is you main technology (one word)?

Me: 43 (and a 1/3 :-)), Excel



UK Excel Dev Conf Venue

Wednesday, 9th June, 2010


so I forgot to mention where this magnificent gathering of the great and the good on Jul 12 is occuring!

Or the timings…

The game plan is for a meet and greet between 8:30 and 9:00, at 9:00 the first session will start. The sessions will be about half an hour long with additional time for questions and overruns.

The last scheduled session will finish somewhere between 17:30 and 18:00. The pubs starts at 18:01 prompt, last one in buys a round.

The venue is here. You will see they have wifi etc so if you have to answer emails to pretend you are ‘working from home’ that should be ok. (No guarantees mind, if its anything like the wifi nightmare I’ve been having recently you might be better bringing homing pigeons.)

We will be stopping for tea and coffee, and for dinner (or lunch) of course. If you want to bring cakes and/or biscuits feel free. Ross likes Wagon Wheels, I like all biscuits, even bourbons, no idea which is Charles’ fave, Charles?

We will make the resources available at the event somehow, if you want to bring a laptop to follow along that’s fine, in fact if you want to bring a desktop that’s fine too, as long as it fits on your knees…

Anymore questions, or blindingly obvious oversights let me know.

I will publish a proper timetable in a couple of days when the presenters and schedule have firmed up.



Excel Developer conference London Monday July 12 2010

Wednesday, 9th June, 2010

Here are some more details for the forthcoming Excel Developer Conference on Monday July 12 2010.

Outline initial Agenda
A one day event focussing on real world development with Excel. The event targets Corporate Excel developers and individuals considering selling Excel add-ins, tools, and templates on a commercial basis. There is an excellent mix of the business of Excel tools and the technical aspects of getting the best from Excel. And probably most usefully it is an excellent (and rare) opportunity to network with fellow professionals operating in the same technologies.
The presenters are all commercial developers, most of whom have been selling Excel related products for years.
The format is relaxed and informal, the numbers are strictly limted to maintain a friendly atmosphere. (the expectation is for an intimate event of 20-30 people)

The business of Excel:
Back Office systems and activities to sell on-line
security, piracy, sales and marketing tools
(both of these are based on the real world experience of Charles Williams and his highly acclaimed Fast Excel optimisation toolset).

Technology of Excel:
How to choose the most appropriate implementation technology, both in a corporate environment and as a independent software vendor.
Creating fast User defined functions with .net and ExcelDNA and XLL+, and by hand.
Using Excel as a window to your corporate data
Designing Excel based systems for easy maintenance, support and modification
Extending Excel with VSTO and Add-in Express based add-ins
Review of Office 2010 and Visual Studio 2010 and the possible implications
Discussion of the future direction of Excel development, which technologies to back which to drop.
Panel based questions and answers – we guarantee to answer all pre-submitted questions at the event, and will follow up any on the days ones we can’t answer there and then.

Currently confirmed:
Charles Williams – Excel calculation master
Ross Mclean – international lute playing spreadsheet developer
Me – general spreadsheet botherer and Visual Studio tinkerer

A key part of these event is the opportunity to meet other people going through the same issues. We will be in the pub the night before and the night after to discuss all things Excel, corporate, commercial and technological, and possibly a little footy too.

The event will include unlimited tea and coffee but the midday meal is left open to delegates to arrange. Some of us will no doubt be going to a local pub.

In order to ensure that cost is not a barrier to attendence, the event is priced at only 150 GBP (+vat) for the day.

I will put up a booking and payment page on the codematic site in the next day or 2.

Any questions, comments or topic suggestions Рplease leave a comment below.



non error error

Wednesday, 2nd June, 2010

how come this = 0 and not #REF or something?


=SUM(G8,#REF!) = #REF! as expected

=SUMIF(E7:E12,#REF!,F7:F12) = 0 too.

All in 2007 (and 2010), I don’t have a 2003 to check just now, is it the same? (just the SUMIF obviously, you dinosaurs don’t have the luxury of SUMIFS ;-))

OpenOffice returns the #REF! I would expect.

Would you expect a formula to return an error if one of its required arguments is an error?

In fairness if there are #REF!s in the data it matches them and returns the total, so in a literal sense it ‘works’, but I’m not sure its what I would expect. What about you?