Getting the most out of WPF Excel spreadsheets

WPF Excel combines the development of sophisticated data modification and analysis tools with the familiarity of Excel. When it comes to enterprise technology, the adage "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" can be seen everywhere. It's not difficult for those who have been immersed in technology from an early age and continue to advance their understanding by working with new gadgets and processes to adapt to changes in applications and programs. For the vast majority of business users, however, comprehensive, up-to-date awareness of technological development may be sorely lacking.

One of the central promises of big data analytics is that regular people can leverage information for understanding. However, this means that these users are going to be the ones responsible for spreadsheets and reporting tools, and they might have a sharp learning curve in the best of circumstances. It is up to programmers, developers and design teams to understand the reality of many users' limited engagement with technology and the kinds of behaviors it breeds. One of these is adherence to specific forms of technology or programs that, while once dominant, have been surpassed in usefulness or relevancy by better versions.

Microsoft Excel is one of these traditional behemoths that has been superseded in many ways by emerging spreadsheet technologies. However, mention the existence of other data analysis tools to the average end user and you might end up with a blank stare. Microsoft Excel has become synonymous with spreadsheets, not unlike Kleenex stands in for all kinds of facial tissue or the popular Frisbee brand extends to all types of flying disks.

Where Excel falls short
While Excel can be a useful tool for many data analysis functions, it has some significant limitations that can easily turn into pitfalls for end users. Data access and modification can be better performed in a variety of other spreadsheet-creation applications on the market. Business 2 Community contributor Paul Bywater recently highlighted some of the more prominent issues with Excel use. Many of them stem from a lack of centralization, a problem that can be alleviated through WPF Excel.

"Over time, the business expands the collection of spreadsheets to monitor and record data as they require," Bywater wrote. Each delivers a function which is not supported by the central business system. So data needs to be manually copied between the spreadsheets and the business system daily - this brings in human errors and bottlenecks, but works for a time. As an organization expands that's when big problems quickly become apparent that threaten the integrity of the business."

Processes such as data duplication, rekeying and archival can become potential minefields, with simple mistypes creating a trickle-down effect of inaccuracies and inconclusiveness. It's important to recognize that as data analysis applications are expected to produce more complex findings, there are many advantages to using a program that reduces chances for random errors and provides more cohesive analysis.

WPF Excel: Working within parameters
It's to the programmer's advantage to understand the limitations of the average end user and to develop tools that he or she can wield efficiently for optimal querying potential and insight. In an Investment News piece about the problems of working with large data sets in Excel, contributors Lowell Putnam and Niko Karvounis wrote that issues such as "chart heartburn" are exacerbated by expecting end users to wield spreadsheets effectively in the face of massive amounts of information.

One of the advantages of WPF Excel is that programmers can include some of the more advanced spreadsheet utilization processes either not included or difficult to use in Excel. End users can take advantage of workbooks in the Excel interface that have many more intuitive capacities than their predecessors do.


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