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Hello world!

“Hello world” is the first application built by users learning many a new piece of software so it seems somewhat fitting to reference it here as well.

“Welcome to the introduction of XLDB blah blah blah blah blah!”…. man launching a new application is tough.

You come up with the idea, you think to yourself “if I just added ‘A’ to ‘B’ then that would be really something people might want”. Then if you are a developer type, you start tinkering. Tinkering becomes prototyping. You hand over your prototype to cross discipline developers and prototyping then becomes a working product and you can see the finish line.

“Just a website, and some YouTube clips and I will be good to go” you think.
But for a start-up that means a LOT of learning new skills that you really would rather not; Manager of developers rather than being the actual developer, manager of designers and web builders, sourcer of license key technology, learner of Camtasia, builder of F%^$ing videos!?! It goes on and on…

I would like to thank the many developers from many disciplines who have helped over the last few years. Fear of helping potential competitors forbids me from naming these masked avengers, but you know how you are.
Now before people write in and (quite rightly) point out the amateurish presentation of much of the YouTube and web content, I acknowledge this and feel some justification is in order.

A couple of months back when I started recording, I stumbled across a “how to” video from a bloke in India that was totally amateur hour; he had just spoken, demonstrated and (badly) edited out his stammering and pausing, clicks, changes of volume everywhere. BUT he answered everything that I wanted to know very well and I at the end of the day I realised that I really didn’t care about the lack of professionalism. I got what I needed from the video and was grateful. So, I decided to take this into my approach as well.

OK so with that out the way, why are we here?

Well speaking for myself, I am here to launch XLDB.

XLDB is an Excel add in that I built to take what I liked about PowerPivot and make it even better.

I had used business intelligence and ETL tools for many years. These were great but they were often expensive or not accessible to users without a LOT of technical skill and a big involvement from IT to make it all happen.
Like many people, when I first saw PowerPivot I was blown away (maybe I should get out more). Here was a simple Excel add in that allowed me to build OLAP / Cube based reporting based on anything I wanted; home finances became fun, my super fund investments became easy to compare.

Then I used Power Query and data wrangling became easy. A little exploration showed me it was a very rich but simple Excel based ETL toolset.

I then realised that there was one big thing missing for me; it was all one-way traffic. I could bring data in from many many sources and refresh it all with the push of a button (or 2!) but what if I wanted to CHANGE the data and write it back to the data source for others to use it? What if I wanted to use it for Budgeting and Forecasting?

PowerPivot wasn’t really cut out for that, and this is when I started tinkering and tinkering became prototyping….

So long story short here is the result of that tinkering.

XLDB is ready for BETA testing