The Orion's Arm Universe Project Forums

Giving the EG a Bit of a Remodel
So, a bit ago I posted something about creating a master timeline using a spreadsheet (which offers 2 dimensions for presenting information compared to the one dimension our current methods are limited to).

Since then I've been doing a bit of playing around with spreadsheets and also some reading on embedding a spreadsheet into a webpage. This evening I actually took a shot at doing one of these, using Excel online and OneDrive (both cloud based) to replicate a sub-section of the Wormhole Gazetteer and then generating an embedding code that created a subset of the spreadsheet in the EG.

It actually worked rather well (allowing for a bit of a learning curve). With a bit of work, I'm confident I could come close to replicating the look of our current tables on the website.

Some fun features that this type of embedded spreadsheet/table has:

1) The embed link stays connected to the master table on OneDrive. This means that we could place copies of the same table on several different EG pages - and update all of them at once just by updating the master table on OneDrive. No more having to remember to update all six timelines or the like.

2) It's possible to generate multiple embed codes from the same spreadsheet, each with different features - for example one embedded table could include sort and filter functions and be interactive for people on the website, while another table doesn't have these and only shows a portion of the first table. Or both could show different portions of the same table. All from one master, and all could be updated at the same time by updating the master. This might be used (with a bit of clever design) to show timelines for different planets or the like - all based on a single master table.

3) The ability to maintain different tables across the site from a central location (OneDrive), either by storing different classes of tables (system data panels, timelines, etc.) in OneDrive or creating a master Excel workbook with different classes to tables stored on different tabs. Or some combo of the two.

Now, all that said, there are a couple of potential issues:

a) The tables produced do have a Microsoft Excel logo in the bottom-left corner of the table.

b) The pages with my experimental tables might have occasionally taken a little bit longer to load as the site queried OneDrive and pulled down the image using the embed code. Or the web or my connection may have just temporarily slowed a bit. Other times there didn't seem to be any lag at all.

I'm not sure either of these are a major issue, but throwing it out there for a consideration.  

To answer a question that is likely to come up:

While I generally prefer Google products, include their cloud based work products, the Excel spreadsheet generator offers functionality that Google Sheets does not. Specifically, while Google Sheets can also generate embed codes, the results are a static table and cannot be sorted or filtered. The embedded table will reflect edits made to the master document, but the end user will see it as just a static table, not something they can interact with.

I suppose the big question would be how many tables would actually need/want sort/filter functions? Of course, if it came down to it we could maintain most of our tables in Google and only those that we wanted to have Sort/Filter functions in Excel/OneDrive.

Regarding Filters: The system allows for filtering by the contents of a cell. With clever design we could take advantage of that. It does not appear to allow filtering by cell color, which would be nice, but probably isn't a show stopper.

Alternatives to Embedded Tables: This line of thought got started when thinking about creating a Master Timeline with spreadsheet functionality. If we decide we would rather not embed tables in the website (and we would want to check with Trond before doing this btw to make sure there isn't a poison pill hiding in there somewhere) we could still create a Master Timeline and use it as a tool to help maintain consistency within the timeline and within articles that are impacted by the passage of history in the setting or by specific events. We could basically just make a link available somewhere and let Editors and members use it to help develop things. Although from what I've seen so far, the embedded functionality could be a nice thing, if we can use it w/o problems.



EDIT: If folks would like to see what one of these looks like, I can set up a sample table in an out of the way corner of the site, or create a non-linked page with samples and then post a link here as we sometimes do with articles or the like. If this is something y'all would be interested in seeing/playing with please let me know.


Messages In This Thread
Giving the EG a Bit of a Remodel - by Drashner1 - 04-08-2018, 08:31 AM
RE: Giving the EG a Bit of a Remodel - by selden - 04-09-2018, 04:04 AM
RE: Giving the EG a Bit of a Remodel - by Rynn - 04-13-2018, 06:49 PM
RE: Giving the EG a Bit of a Remodel - by Rynn - 05-09-2018, 04:32 AM
RE: Giving the EG a Bit of a Remodel - by Vaktus - 05-10-2018, 03:07 AM
RE: Giving the EG a Bit of a Remodel - by selden - 05-10-2018, 06:38 AM
RE: Giving the EG a Bit of a Remodel - by Vaktus - 05-23-2018, 01:53 PM
RE: Giving the EG a Bit of a Remodel - by selden - 06-24-2018, 04:46 AM
RE: Giving the EG a Bit of a Remodel - by selden - 07-01-2018, 10:55 PM
RE: Giving the EG a Bit of a Remodel - by selden - 07-22-2018, 03:30 AM
RE: Giving the EG a Bit of a Remodel - by Drashner1 - 08-03-2018, 01:26 PM

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