Online web spreadsheets – iRows

Online web spreadsheets – iRows

Those of you that actually know me, know that I spend a good bit of time encouraging students to learn Excel. It’s a tool that is almost guaranteed to be on your computer whereever you work, and let’s you do some very powerful things.

For instance, in the Logistics and Supply Chain area (my specialty) you can use Excel to compute inventory levels and reorder points, transportation costs, break even points, and the like. With Solver, you can optimize transportation network flows, evaluate more complex inventory models, and assess various production level alternatives. I also like that VBA is embedded, allowing all sorts of neat and cool tricks (we can talk about those some other time!)

That being said–you are tied either to your computer’s hard drive, or to a thumbdrive for data storage, and you will have to have access to the office suite on every computer you intend to use. That can get quite expensive, if you have several computers at home, for instance.

Now along comes this site. provides you the opportunity to develop spreadsheets online, and store the data online as well. Is it as robust and feature rich as Excel? Apparently not, but hey, that’s for us to request from them later!

The creators of iRows have laid their philosophy out:

* Software should not be installed. Everything should be web based. Well, maybe not 3D games, but most desktop software can and should become web based. * Cool and intuitive software. Software should be easy to use, without a need for a manual. User interfaces should be cool, the cooler the better.

So my questions for you, dear class, are these:

1. Should software migrate to a web-based delivery system?
2. If so, what software would you like to see made available in this way?
3. Would you want to store your data on their server?

I look forward to hearing from you all! (yup…both of you! LOL)

14 thoughts on “Online web spreadsheets – iRows

  • I love Excel and actually own a few books on exploting all the hidden assets it offers. So nice to know I’m not the only freak actually into this. Knowing this about you, I feel a strange closeness to you Prof(f). Like, we share something in common. It’s an eerie, sick feeling. Oh wait, it might be the salmon I had for lunch. Never mind.

  • Network computing was a promise of the 90s that few people liked. Google is making a renewed push for it now. I think it will fall just as flat as it did then.

  • This would be a good tool for corporate or non-profit websites though.

  • i was going to comment but… since I am not one of the ‘both’. I won’t. *smirk*

  • Anonymity apparently has its own virtues… *smile* and Ciao…

    The Prof(f)

  • You made me think back about 5 years when I made this transition with email. Once high speed access was becoming more available and online storage was free, I saw no real reason to keep anything on my own harddrives. I think that’s where every bit of data is going, gmail and flickr. The advantage of being to access what I need from any computer anywhere is too great and no more worrying about losing everything when the computer dies. Not that I’m saying you shouldn’t have your own backup on a disc or storage device.

  • I wrote about what google is doing, here.

    Part of it says:

    What we’re looking at is the beginning of a Google internet with an online office suite that operates through an open source web browser able to access all the known information of the universe from anywhere, anytime, paid for through advertisements from your corner grocer.

    I dont think they have an online spread sheet. Don’t be surprised if this gets snatched up by google.

  • Network computing… The thing I don’t like about it is that it removes ownership of the computing resources from people. All you’re left with is a web browser accessing someone else’s server, with someone else’s software that they’ll let you use if you agree to their terms. Your data is also at their mercy in a similar manner.
    Network computing is like the lisence requirements of office, only more so – it removes what you just bought from your direct ownership and control. That’s why I don’t like it as much.

    Homepages are cool, but I wouldn’t put all my files and software on a homepage and run it only off of that site, for someone else to see, manipulate, or lose.

  • Furthermore, it just ties up bandwidth needlessly. A lot more communication would have to be accomplished just to run a computing task that could as easily be run on your home computer. If everyone used network computers, how much more communications infastructure would have to go up just to support it at reasonable speed?

  • 1. Should software migrate to a web-based delivery system? //2. If so, what software would you like to see made available in this way?
    ~In my oh-so humble opinion, I think for the time being general software can be web-based: such as: excel, word, etc. So, general public an feel free to use at the leisure to meet general needs. I think a basic security would not be hard to establish. I think other more complex software should wait to see what happens to the general ones.

    3. Would you want to store your data on their server?
    I think if a layer of the security is in place, then I would feel comfortable with placing some things I write there but more personal/secure items would still be held on hand not on the web.

    (Anonymity apparently has its own virtues… :P)

  • No, I didn’t know you loved salmon Prof(f). I will keep that in mind.

    Right after I wrote that post I was sent an email by one of the higher-ups at the establishment that signs my checks each month. I won’t bore you with the details but have been working on a mammoth spreadsheet ever since. I want to see your damn phone bill. I know you called someone!lol

  • Hi, I came here from Technorati’s blog search. Seems you guys are making some interesting discussion on online spreadsheet. We’ve recently released the public beta of EditGrid –, an online spreadsheet service. You may like to take a look. Thanks, David

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