Launching SpreadsheetLight

I am excited to tell you that my spreadsheet software library is available!

SpreadsheetLight

For the initial launch version (I decided to go for version 1. Why do people launch with versions 0.8? I don’t know…), you get comprehensive support for styles, rich text formatting, 47 named cell styles, themes (either one of the 20 built-in themes or create-your-own). Well, like I said, comprehensive styling support.

There’s also the (hum-drum) support for merging cells and freezing panes. I actually explored how to split panes. I certainly wrote about it in my Open XML guide, but it turns out that there’s a tiny rectangle at the top-left corner that Microsoft Excel didn’t tell me about. The size of that tiny rectangle is dependent on the font you use, and even the screen resolution of your computer screen.

While I could add a function that allows you to just input the size in EMUs (English Metric Units), I decided that if I can’t do it well, I don’t want to do it. At least for the initial launch.

Row heights and column widths were also big time drains. It turns out that they’re also dependent on the font and screen resolution of your computer screen. I was trying to calculate the standard row heights and column widths for the fonts in the built-in themes, and I thought I had them. I wrote a program using SpreadsheetLight to generate spreadsheets with different minor fonts, and I wrote a program to read in those spreadsheets and get the “standard” row height and column width. I spent 3 hours collecting data.

Then on a whim, I switched my computer screen’s resolution from 120 DPI to 96 DPI (my eyesight’s not that good ok? I need bigger text…), and whoa! All that data doesn’t apply anymore… All in all, I think I spent 6 or 7 days trying to figure out a general calculation formula. I failed. I don’t know how Excel does it.

I also surprised myself by including extensive support for pictures. I thought you just insert a picture into the worksheet and that’s it! It turns out there’s a ton of post-insertion manipulations you can do. For example, if your picture has transparent areas, you could set a background fill, and that background colour will be visible through the picture. Also, you can rotate the picture in 3D.

SpreadsheetLight is licensed under the MIT license. I decided to use one of the available software licenses instead of making up one of my own. As far as I can tell, the MIT license allows the recipient of the software to use the software in personal or commercial products. It’s also categorised as free software, as in freedom of use, not free as in cost. I don’t want to deal with per-client, or per-server, or per-developer or per-what-not licensing restrictions.

Even if you’re not interested in spreadsheet software, have a look at SpreadsheetLight. Tell some other programmer about it. Tell your manager about it. It took me slightly over 2 months of intense coding, and I want someone in the world out there to have an easier life because of SpreadsheetLight. Thanks!

Oh, and the image art is designed by Charlie Pabst from Charfish Design. While I have a fair competence in image work, I decided to get a professional designer to help me. It’s a business and professional product. I’m not going to risk the product’s success so I could stoke my ego…