In real life of business people Excel spreadsheets play an important role. They are easy to create, easy to modify, easy to deliver. Copy – Paste – modify is the standard Excel (programming) activity. Cells named by row and column represent the data model (or object model if you prefer). This is easy and absolutely not scalable. In my personal real life as manager of my company I have Excel spreadsheets as everybody else. And I have to consolidate them, sometimes over many years. By whatever reason, in 2002 some data might be in column D which is in 2003 to 2005 in column E and since 2006 in column F. Doing the consolidation in VBA is almost as painful as doing it manually (unifying the original spreadsheets), while the latter has the extra challenge to be error-prone. Our silver bullet is Smalltalk. I create a real object model for the business presented in the spreadsheets, I use COM Connect to populate the object model, I use Smalltalk to transform the objects (consolidate), and use COM Connect to create Excel spreadsheets in the format desired for the consolidated information.
Georg Heeg is Executive Director of STIC - Smalltalk Industry Council, a volunteer organization to promote Smalltalk. In real life he is founder of Georg Heeg eK, a 23 year old Smalltalk Software House in Dortmund, Zurich and Köthen.