This idea came to me early in the morning while watchng how a new power source was installed into my old PC. I was watching the Internet Kiosk and then wondered how hard could a real time LIVE spreadsheet could be.
The basic idea is to use the UI of Calc as a database/record display for end users. Or in other words, make their boring spreadsheets start making some real time procesing.
There are not that many things that stream real time information of the latest numbers. We can think game scores, stocks, currency exchange, but other more meaningful stuff like providers price quotes still need some work.
As I start getting a sense of how hard is to go from place to place asking for quotes on the latest material for a house that we are building, I can see how much time is wasted looking for this odd materials that the crazy builders demand.
At the same time I also se how stores start to share information between their different branches, so they can have EDI systems and track the stock of any of the different branches in the state. This definetly help their cause but and ours, but to what extend.
Having real time quotes might make our budget more exact as well as our cashflow and expense list. Transfer this to other parts of life and you will have your weekly market list done for you as well as other expenses.
Meanwhile we wait for this information to start flowing we can build the first bridges to put that information into a very user friendly interface. Where users dont just get the data but also play with it and build their own calculations based on dynamic live variables. The answer, of course XML.
OpenOffice.org and OpenDocuments might well suite the managing of this type of information, since it has a native XML database so is proven that OOo can handle xml datasources on a great manner. Services like OOoDic also showed that they can get the information from the net without the user really caring about it. And OOo infrastructure is based on XML so their parser should be more than suited to do this job.
Are we ready to start getting some live data into our otherwise boring spreadsheet?