EditGrid – best online spreadsheet Techcrunch missed?

by admin on September 15, 2006

in Innovation

Editg2

TechCrunch missed this one though a few others picked up on it. Hardly surprising since this has been through 12 beta releases. I’ve kept quiet, waiting to see how far the developers would get before I felt confident in using it.

Much has been made of online spreadsheets and their perceived limitations. If you believe that to be true then forget the rest of this blarticle. If not then check out EditGrid. This has got so much going for it I’m struggling to know where to start. Here’s a few sparklers:

  • Unlike ZohoSheet, which failed miserably, I was able to import an Excel spreadsheet developed by Niel Robertson with all links preserved and the charts intact. All formatting was preserved. See above image
  • EditGrid has more than 500 functions. What? Including commonly used ones like COUNT(IF) and VLOOKUP()
  • There are currently 36 chart variations though I couldn’t figure out how to change one I’d imported
  • Data formats include custom types so you can make that odd data format if you want
  • Full keyboard control for those number crunchers who prefer fast entry DOS style
  • 7 languages
  • Link to iCal for all the Mac fanboys and girls
  • Link to mapping tools
  • 18 pre-built templates including cashflow, timesheets, customer contact list, calendar, date tracker

Editg1

But here is the coolest features of all – you can track real time price changes on a bunch of different stock exchanges. This is a Yahoo! Finance mashup that refreshes prices every 15 seconds. How good is that? You could for example create separate portfolios in different markets and track each on the same worksheet. Check out the image above to get a feel for how you could put something together.

EditGrid folk are working their socks off to get this service right and have a very good forum supporting their fledgling community of users. For instance, there was a discussion around memory leaks – something for which Internet Explorer is infamous. The team make solid recommendations that are easy to follow along with explaining the progress they’re making in dealing with issues.

If you want to know what’s in store, they publish future plans.

Finally – it’s got an API so you can link it to whatever you fancy, if you’ve got the technical smarts. One for David or Stefan? Just think about the possibilities for developing things like realtime cashflow or profit planning?

Questions: What’s the business model? I can’t see any mention of how this thing is going to make money for the developers though I have seen they received angel funding a while back. When will Mike Arrington or Sam Sethi give this a once over?

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Sam Sethi September 15, 2006 at 8:57 am

Its hard to find everything out there but now you have brought it to our attention I'm sure one of us will ;-)

Jason Wood September 15, 2006 at 5:41 pm

Den,

This is excellent stuff. I'm always looking for a more robust online spreadsheet and, like you, found Zohosheet a bit underwhelming.

EditGrid did a nice job of pulling in a pretty advanced spreadsheet I had. One note, you can't upload a file larger than 1 MB, which many of my spreadsheets are, so that's a problem. But getting back to the one I did upload (about 0.7 MB), it took less than 15 seconds to load the data and it looks like all my reference between sheets are intact.

From a formatting perspective, it did a nice job importing most of the format. But certain things weren't transferred over which isn't a big deal for functional spreadsheets, but a problem if you have a presentation/graphical angle to them.

The time between calculations was a bid disconcerting. I would input a simply change to a cell, and the resulting formula values in adjoining cells took a few seconds to parse through. That would be a deal breaker for me when I'm working very quickly and inputing a ton of data; especially when I'm doing ad hoc analysis.

All in all this has promise though, it's one of the better online spreadsheets I've come across in some facets. Seems like data extraction and translation is a strong suit. Now if they can just amp up the file size maximums and the processing time between computations, we've got something.

Sridhar Vembu September 15, 2006 at 9:18 pm

Dennis,
ZohoSheet charting is still work in progress. The spreadsheet you referenced (is it http://www.zohosheet.com/public.do?fid=41313 ) has some chart types we don't yet handle, hence the problem.

Thanks for your critical feedback!

Sridhar

David Lee September 16, 2006 at 4:25 am

Hi Den,

This is David from EditGrid. Thanks for your blog mention and post in our forum. Regarding EditGrid's business model, we are exploring a few ideas already. Subscription for commercial organisation is surely one of them. And since EditGrid is a standalone spreadsheet service, we would love to partner with companies who want to integrate online spreadsheet into their suite.

Jason, thanks for your comments. My team is working on the optimisation on the performance, hopefully in the short future, we can deliver a faster EditGrid which can process bigger spreadsheets.

David Terrar September 18, 2006 at 10:39 am

Hi Den,
This looks like a good tip for Twinfield. We'll do some serous investigation and make contact with David Lee. Cheers!

David Wynn September 18, 2006 at 6:21 pm

Dennis,

As the "spreadsheet man" in D2C I picked this up through David Terrar and your blog … tried ZohoSheet and gave it a miss for now … this seems tons better in almost every way – looks as if it can mean shared spreadsheets, only limitation immediately obvious is that as the spreadsheet "owner" I can't see who has done what to my precious spreadsheet!!

David Lee September 19, 2006 at 5:37 am

Hi,

Seems the blog comment is flooding with Davids, including myself. This is David Lee from EditGrid replying David Wynn's post. :)

Re: I can’t see who has done what to my precious spreadsheet!!

We are also discussing with customers/partners who put a very strong emphasis on auditability of changes on spreadsheets as well. They call this compliance. We have got an understanding about this already. In the next next release (beta 14), we will release features which shall meet the basic compliance requirements – you will then be able to trace all the edits by the co-editors.

In the current EditGrid, there are several related features which you may find helpful:

- Version Control, there is a revision history which presents auto-saved/manual-saved spreadsheet versions for your view/roll-back.
- Cell/region lock, It allows you to lock certain cell/regions on your spreadsheets for your exclusive edit.

I'm interested to discuss cooperation opportunities. Our strategy is to work with partners to make EditGrid a accessible and affordable technology for everyone.

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