Convert an Excel file into a Mobile app

Written by on Wednesday, March 25th 2020

Convert an Excel file into a Mobile app
As you know, we strive to constantly develop our features. Plugins are one of our solutions to better customize your app to your needs. Today, we are happy to announce a new plugin thanks to a new partnership with Appizy. 

Thanks to Appizy, you can add a web calculator to your mobile app with a GoodBarber plugin. Nicolas Hefti, co-founder of Appizy, presents this solution to us. 

Can you tell us a few words about your company and the product ?

Appizy was born in an engineering office in the building sector in 2011 before becoming an independent project. We had a multitude of Excel files with as many versions each. At one point, the idea came up to develop a tool to transform our spreadsheets into web tools that we could share between colleagues and subsidiaries through a website.

Today we find that spreadsheets are the most popular programming tool in the world. Appizy' s mission is to create links between this office tool and the vast world of web and mobile.

Apps generated from Appizy already integrate perfectly into all types of websites: WordPress, Wix, Jekyll, etc... With GoodBarber we are very happy to be able to bring Appizy users to create apps for Android, iPhone or Progressive Web Apps. This is a new step we are taking.

Is it possible to make any kind of SpreadSheet with Appizy?

Appizy supports most of the classic functions of a spreadsheet. Files can be in ODS (LibreOffice, OpenOffice) or XLSX (Excel) format. There are some limitations however: matrix formulas, macros or pivot tables are not yet supported.

The algorithm evolves regularly and we are always very happy to respond to our users' requests. Compatibility with GoodBarber is the result of one of these requests.
Convert an Excel file into a Mobile app

What are the "Best Practices" for integrating a SpreadSheet in an app?

A spreadsheet is very large. There is no limit to the number of rows or columns. On a mobile phone the display is smaller! So you have to think when preparing your spreadsheet for its future integration on a mobile app.

A good practice is to separate the interface from the calculations. In a first tab we leave the input fields and results by giving visual indications (with colors for example). The intermediate calculations and data are in a second tab. Before converting it is enough to hide the calculation tab. Thus the application is clear and easy to maintain or to make evolve.

Finally, the advice we always give is to work in an iterative way. Take small steps. Start by developing a beta version of the spreadsheet, convert it with Appizy and integrate it into your mobile app. Then we ask the end-users for their feedback and start this cycle again. This way, we make sure to stick perfectly to the needs without spending too much time on useless developments.

How do you integrate your solution with a GoodBarber app?

Once the Excel file has been converted into a web app by Appizy, you download a zip archive with all the files necessary for the proper functioning of the app. In the GoodBarber editor you need to activate the "Plugin" type content and add a new section. Then simply load in the section all the files generated by Appizy. Once the operation is completed, the preview function allows you to check the result. It's ready to use.

For the most users with knowledge in JavaScript, CSS and HTML it is possible to go and customize the calculator manually. The code generated by Appizy is open and can be edited. More experienced users (or those who want to use a professional developer) will be able to work with the GoodBarber SDK to interact in a more advanced way with the phone (geolocation, notification, etc).

This is just the beginning of the adventure between GoodBarber and Appizy. We look forward to user feedback to adapt our solution.




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