Pivot Tables: data or objects?
This morning, I read Joel Spolsky’s article How to be a program manager. Therein lies the following quote:
"One of the most monumental debates I remember from the Excel 5 project was between a developer who wanted pivot tables to float on the drawing layer above the spreadsheet, and the program manager, who insisted that pivot tables live right in the cells on the spreadsheet. This debate went on for a really, really long time, and eventually, the program manager prevailed, but the final design came out much much better than any one individual’s design would have been."
I’ve always struggled with the fact that Pivot Tables sit within the Excel cells. In all honesty, it’s where they belong because they are made of data, each piece an element in its own right. But their variable size, and more importantly their ability to change size and shape unpredictably at the drop of a hat/drag of a mouse means that they don’t play well with the things around them.
There’s an argument for Pivot Tables to be cell-based, but for them not to sit on sheets with other non-Pivot Table objects. Multiple Pivot Tables could sit on a single sheet, as they could be positioned relative to other ones on the sheet (Pivot Table Y is to the right of Pivot Table X).
I’ve probably thought about this more than your average bod.