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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to turn an Excel spreadsheet into a sophisticated Web app

Our good friend from "down under" is at it again. Peter Conway is always pushing the boundaries of Alpha Five, building contemporary user experiences with transparent windows, shadows, and more. Most recently, he built a Web app to solve a common business problem using Alpha Five in just four hours.

Peter's daughter works at Morrisons Winery in Australia. Like most wineries, Morrisons has members. But the members' information was stored in an Excel spreadsheet. It was difficult to maintain and use, and it could only be opened from the desktop. So she asked for Dad's help.

In just under four hours, Peter exported the data from Excel, pulled some images from Morrisons' website, and built a sophisticated members management application for the winery. Now the winery can easily search the data, add icons or images to a member's profile, include wine preferences, notes, and much more.

The app lets the winery keep more details on each member to make their experience at Morrisons exceptional, and most importantly, keep them coming back. Take a look at the video that Peter put together demoing the application.


Barry said...


Just wanted to tell you that your Excel Video was inspirational. After watching it, I decided to take on a project I probably should have years ago.

About once a month I get a request from my largest client to restore an EXCEL spreadsheet with over 40,000 rows that the user inadvertantly trashed due to keyboard activity that messed up the sheet.

I have asked them previously if they wanted me to take it on and move it to ALPHA, and it was always rejected.

After seeing what you did in 1/2 a day, I said, then I could probably do it in a week, since I've never attempted this before.

Wow, was I off!! It was finished in less than a day!!! I should have known, because Alpha has surprised me before.

Because of that quick turnaround, the client has given me 3 more projects to move other EXCEL files to the web.

These projects are alot more intense, but I now have the confidence to proceed.

One small critism if you don't mind: The video was called "How to turn an Excel file into a web app". You really didn't explain HOW, you just showed us the results. It worked for me so how can I complain.

Peter Conway said...

Barry, I'm glad I opened your eyes to what's possible. I will include an in-depth, how-to video in the Alpha Five Master Class series. We'll post information on the blog about it when it's available. I think once people have their hands on that video they will truly be motivated to "Excel" in their Alpha Five development.

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