Category Archives: Excel

The 7 signs your UI was created by a programmer

Programmers are notoriously bad at creating good user interfaces. How can you tell if your app was designed by a programmer? (Hint: it’s easy).

Also posted in Rant, Software Development, Usability | Tagged , , , | 47 Responses

Ending the love affair with Excel

It’s a well known fact that the financial services industry (where I mean banks, hedge funds, pension providers, fund managers etc) is deeply in love with Excel. But what is it about the Excel ecosystem that makes it so appealing, and how can we move seamlessly to a more robust, maintainable platform?

Also posted in Finance | Tagged , , | 2 Responses

Beware cached IDispatch

I’ve kinda given it away there with the title, but we had an interesting set of symptoms exhibited the other day while trying to call a function in an Excel workbook via F#. It appeared that the function being called would fail depending on what had been called previously. Very odd. A bit of background: as […]

Also posted in .NET, COM, Debugging, F# | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Static libraries are Evil

In my opinion. Why? Well, because it’s too easy to use them as an excuse for not defining your shared library interfaces properly. The reason this is on my mind recently is that several hundred, yes, you heard that right, several hundred DLLs have been released by my group over the last, ooh, 10 years […]

Also posted in COM, Rant, Software Development | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dumping Excel XLL add-in calls

Using WinDbg it’s possible to get a dump of each XLL call that is made by Excel as it calculates. If you’re using Excel 2003, create the following breakpoint that dumps the symbol at eax+4 (the entry point that is about to be called), then continues.: bu EXCEL!MdCallBack+0xa880 “dds @eax+0x4 L1; g” You’ll need to […]

Also posted in Debugging, WinDbg | 3 Responses

Modular Excel Spreadsheets

Where I work there is no escape from the clutches of Excel. It gets everywhere. Everyone uses it for everything.One of the projects I’ve been responsible for is an attempt to modularise Excel workbooks in order to make them easier to create and manage. This is done by creating a manifest for each “component” (a […]

Also posted in Software Development | Leave a comment
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