Simon Willison’s Weblog

3 items tagged “spreadsheets”


The Tyranny of Spreadsheets (via) In discussing the notorious Excel incident last year when the UK lost track of 16,000 Covid cases due to a .xls row limit, Tim Harford presents a history of the spreadsheet, dating all the way back to Francesco di Marco Datini and double-entry bookkeeping in 1396. A delightful piece of writing. # 23rd July 2021, 3:57 am


Wildcard: Spreadsheet-Driven Customization of Web Applications (via) What a fascinating collection of ideas. Wildcard is a browser extension (currently using Tampermonkey and sadly not yet available to try out) which lets you add “spreadsheet-driven customization” to any web application. Watching the animated screenshots in the videos helps explain what this mean—essentially it’s a two-way scraping trick, where content on the page (e.g. Airbnb listings) are extracted into a spreadsheet-like table interface using JavaScript—but then interactions you make in that spreadsheet like filtering and sorting are reflected back on the original page. It even has the ability to serve editable cells by mapping them to form inputs on the page. Lots to think about here. # 28th February 2020, 7:39 pm


US economic data spreadsheets from the Guardian. At the Guardian we’ve just released a bunch of economic data about the US painstakingly collected by Simon Rogers, our top data journalist, as Google Docs spreadsheets. Get your data here. # 16th January 2009, 6:17 pm