Archive for the ‘Spreadsheet’ Category

Excel 2016 performance – even interestinger

Sunday, 19th August, 2018

I’m on a crusade to understand what is going on with Excel 2016 performance.

In summary its bad, like more than 10 times slower than Excel 2010 bad.

ie BAD.

I am only just scratching the surface, so I am sure I’ll find areas where 2016 is better … at least I hope I will…

My little cell selection test gave Excel 2016 2.6secs, Excel 2010 0.14secs.

Which I appreciate is indeed more than 10x, I could calc it exactly but it would take a couple of life times in Excel 2016,

But of course these are different machines so I need to understand how much is due to the machine. so I wrote a C++ console app (so limited windows, or .net influence).

It just adds some (vaguely) random numbers, so a bit dependent on that library, but in principle I don’t see a glaring reason why it can’t give me an approximation of the difference in speed between two machines.

This is it:

for (int n = 0; n < 1000 * 1000 * 1000; ++n) {
result += -70 + (std::rand() % (60 – 25 + 1));
}

It runs 14 seconds on my XP box and 15 on Win 10, so I think you could say the machines are comparable, roughly.

So the 10x slowness is pure Win10/E2016 then?

Well its a bit early to say, I think there is a video/graphics element so I’m going to develop some more tests.

I mean as it stands Excel is so so bad you could develop in VSTO without noticing a performance drop (unless its worse too).

I’ll keep you posted, ping me if you want this console exe to benchmark your machine.

cheers

simon

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Excel 2016 perf what the effing eff?

Thursday, 16th August, 2018

Well, I tried to resist, but shocked at the rank day to day performance of my shiny Win10E2016 toy I had to compare performance.

Obviously I haven’t done it properly, what would be the point in that?

But equally obviously I’m going to write about it as if it is indisputable fact.

I wanted a test that mimicked the slow UI response I was seeing so I selected the cells. I am in the throes of writing a more rounded benchmarking tool, but this was my first area of focus. Of course it ignores MTA etc etc, those tests are coming.

I’ll stick the code at the bottom. I would be delighted if you copied it into a new workbook module and ran it on your machine(s) and replied with the results and a hint about machine specs and Excel versions. Preferably in a clean Excel, not one shared with a workbook polluted with a quadzillion volatile VBA UDFs, or a million addins trapping the selectionChange event!

4 core i7 w 16GB RAM – W10E2016 – average of ten results 2.4 seconds

dual core i7 VM (with 500GB ram?(it thinks!)??) WXPE2010 av 0.14 secs

dual core i7 VM (with 500GB ram???) WXPE2003 av 0.12 secs

I ran it on a single screen in all cases, with just the VBA IDE visible. If the Excel grid is visible the performance is much worse.

I expected 2016 to be slower in this single threaded test, but not 10 times slower. What are they doing with all those cycles? (cryptomining???)

cheers

simon

Here is that code, please please take a minute and let me know your results

(if you are using a lapper be sure it does not have some work dodging power/performance reducing profile set)

Public Sub multiLoop()
Dim x As Integer
Dim t As Single

For x = 1 To 10
t = Timer

CellEntryTest 3.1

Debug.Print Timer – t
Next x
End Sub

Public Sub CellEntryTest(seed As Double)
Dim ws As Worksheet
Set ws = ThisWorkbook.Worksheets(1)

ws.Activate

ws.Cells.Clear

Dim x As Long

For x = 1 To 1000
ws.Cells(x, 1).Select
ActiveCell.Value = (seed + x) * 2 * Rnd(2)
Next x

End Sub

Feel free to chip in if you are convinced this is an invalid test.

If you are seeing sub 1 second response you could bump up the loop to 10k, that is what I had it on until I came to test 2016! (mention that in you reply, or just divide by 10)

 

Excel Developer Conference 18th October 2018 London

Monday, 23rd July, 2018

Woo Hoo

There is going to be a major, major Excel extensibility conference in that London on 18th October 2018. This is THE big one. All the big guns from the main Excel extensibility tools and frameworks are going to be there speaking.

There will no better time in your lifetime to hear from the horses mouth the how and why of ExcelDNA, PyXLL, XLL + and the new Excel javascript APIs. Also sessions covering Power Query and VSTO and Add-in Express.

This is a community driven event, driven by a desire to get the top minds in the Excel extensibility space together.

The Date? Thursday 18th October 2018

The Location? Microsoft Reactor, 70 Wilson St, London EC2A 2DB

More info here

Bookings here

See you there…

(please reblog… and if you do, and you are coming, let us know we will link to you on the sponsors page for helping to spread the word.)

cheers

simon

Eusprig Conference

Saturday, 30th June, 2018

Its nearly time for the Eusprig conference on spreadsheet risk etc. (Thursday 5th July, glad you asked)

Here is the link, if you can make it and are involved in spreadsheet development, modelling or management its well worth a few hours of your time. Its at Imperial this year.

I’m a bit out of that world these days, I am waiting for the Excel extensibility conf in October.

But I would recommend Eusprig to anyone, lots of valuable info and contacts.

cheers

simon

new lapper

Monday, 25th June, 2018

In an alarming and uncharacteristic case of actually doing what I said I would I just pulled the trigger on a new(ish) lapper.

I went for a Dell xps, I got a windas one rather than linux cos I can just partition it anyway. That way if I need to work slooowly or pick up viruses I can use windas.

Theoretically it should be smaller lighter and faster than this cackbook, we’ll see… It would be nice also if it didn’t run so hot, and maybe if the battery lasted more than 20 mins – one can but hope…

I was mainly persuaded to update my Microsoft world as I am back doing a decent amount of ExcelDNA development. And I am currently working on a big 2010-2016 migration and my spidey senses tell me that might not be a bad career move for the next 12m or so.

Don’t take it as a vote of approval for the latest Microsoft creations. I think Windows 10 and Office 2016 are utterly shit. But they are still popular. Whenever I am working in this new stuff I just feel like I am using something a 13 year old ‘designed’. All valueless whistles and bells no core features or performance. I am astounded every day by just how slow and unresponsive it is, for simple stuff like opening a file. Often I have forgotten what I was doing by the time the dialog has deigned to appear. (I am knocking on though I guess..)

One (begrudging ;-) ) positive for MS though is the quality and amount of stuff they are finally giving away these days. A usable Visual studio – free, SQL server Express – a proper database – free, SQL Server Management Studio – free. Just need to put me hand in me pocket for Office, not bad at all. If Visual studio was as good as intelliJ I could almost convert. not. (Well maybe if they brought back the MSDN roadshows with those lovely little danish pastries)

Still chipping away at the Android too, I wasted a whole day not being able to find a completely stupid mistake I made the other day. It would be funny if I didn’t have so many better things to do with that wasted time. And I know I’ll do the same again (soon), perhaps with a different tech though.

cheers

simon

Ageism

Tuesday, 5th June, 2018

is real

well I bet that’s what those lawyers hope anyway.

I bet you thought it was just me being a grumpy bad loser, but no, its true, no one wants to employ unmanageable grumpy old farts who won’t do what they are told by inexperienced buzzword bingoistas. Or maybe that’s just me??

Talking of which is anyone having issues with pivot table refreshes being slooooow in Excel 2016?

Excel 2016 is breathtakingly slow, I keep having to remind myself it is actually meant to be production code, not alpha. Or maybe my new lapper is not up to the job.

I heard Cray were the only ones certified ‘Ready for Office 2016’, and maybe Big Blue?(The IBM tompooter not the epic Blackpool big dipper ride). Its a big investment just to manage shopping lists…

btw – today I have mainly been doing doing XLM in Excel 2016. Get in!

(Thank you Excel team for your consistently epic backwards compatibility story)

You know you are on the long tail when Google insists on ‘correcting’ your technology.

XML my arse

Cheers

simon

 

 

AI – artificial intelligence or absolute idiocy?

Tuesday, 29th May, 2018

I’m not on faceache as I have a life, but I was busy on losergram for a while.

I went on recently to see they have ‘improved’ the relevancy of the feed. ie its completely repetitive samey stuff now.

If I like 1 picture of trees, all I see is trees. but I already liked my tree picture for the day, now I want to see other things.

Apparently pootube is the same, they re moving from a simple time based list to ‘targeted’ and/or customised lists from channels.

We are all being trapped by prior choices with no clear way to see something new. It reminds me of two things

1. All this GDPR stuff – lots of people have highlighted how ‘targeted’ adverts only ever show them things they already bought, and are therefore absolutely not in the market for.

and 2. When Microsoft introduced the ribbon with ‘context awareness’ – it showed you commands relevant to what you had just done, not what you were about to.

So, for me as these systems become more aware, developers misuse that the make them more stupid, and more irrelevant.

Its just arrogance, these people think that because they have a bit of info on what we have done in the past they can predict with worthwhile accuracy what we currently want. Whilst that may be the case (very) occasionally, it really isn’t often enough for their systems’ positives to outweigh the trapped echo chamber negatives.

So for me, Absolute Idiocy.

 

FoxPro

Thursday, 24th May, 2018

I thought VBA was old and outdated. Then I just saw a job for a foxPro developer.

Now *that* is a blast from the past.

(2007 apparently)

 

Excel Javascript UDFs

Tuesday, 8th May, 2018

“Office developers have been wanting to write JavaScript custom functions for many reasons,” Microsoft says,

My Arse!

I remain sceptical of the whole webbification of Excel. It started with the Toytown UI in 2007 and just keeps going downhill.

MS have been trying to tempt mainstream developers to Excel forever, and have completely consistently completely and utterly failed. I doubt chucking a bit of javascript at it will have web devs thronging in either.

Here is a fact:

Office development is just not ‘sexy’.

‘sexy’ is pointless navel gazing arguing about ‘is a’ v ‘has a’ (inheritance v composition)

‘sexy’ is arguing whether your new pointless feature should be a property or a method, and then arguing about whether to put it in a concrete class or create a new abstract base class to inherit from so you can also tick the polymorphic box in your 60 line sort routine. (don’t even think about range.sort – are you mad??)

getting the work done quickly with no drama is just not, not now, not ever again seemingly, ‘sexy’.

It used to be appealing, now? not so much.

It might be that some Excel devs do see value in js, I think a genuine focus on a more mainstream language (than VBA) could be useful. I think friction free access to the whole web infrastructure could be good (web queries are excellent, as far as they go). Python would be more use than javascript I think.

So, No I do not believe for one second that ‘Office developers have been wanting to write JavaScript’.

But Microsoft consistently misses the markĀ  – they need to target existing Office devs and give them what they actually want, not web devs and not Visual Studio devs. Whatever happened to VSTA? does VSTO still exist?

I’m not totally ranting here, when I was on the Office Developer Advisory Panel for Office 2010 we said exactly this – give us a decent IDE. what did we get? the Toytown UI! They eventually disbanded the panel, probably cos they were sick of all the greybeards refusing to sing from the koolaid hymn sheet.

If there was a decent IDE for Office development every aspect would improve, regardless of the language (even brainfuck or fetlang!).

But Microsoft don’t want to give Office developers what they want, they want Office developers to want whatever shallow gimmick Microsoft wants to play with this week. Which hasn’t been pragmatic, getting the job done stuff, or respect for old/working stuff since the MSDN generation took over from the Raymond Chen school of thought over a decade ago.

Probably… I do most of my spreadsheeting in LibreOffice these days, and developing in IntelliJ, so what do I know!

LinkedIn Zombie account

Thursday, 3rd May, 2018

I shut my LinkedIn account down last year as I didn’t like their new terms of service.

Imagine my surprise then to get an invitation today from another user to connect.

I was also able to update my account preferences, for an account that should not exist, that I can’t log into. But still receives invites?

Has anyone actually managed to get off there? can people still see my profile?

I thought I had deleted my account apparently its just pining for the fjords!!

I can feel a GDPR violation report brewing….

cheers

simon