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Reporting With Number Duck

23 August 2014

It's that time of the week at Spoon Corp, when the sales department starts pestering you to create their weekly report. They put in a lot of overtime in with the launch of the new Spoon MAX (TM) ultra-wide model that lets you scoop 30% more ice cream and everyone is excited to see the sales numbers.

So you crack open your SQL client and run your queries to generate the data. You did save the queries from the last time you did this didn't you? I hope you aren't writing them again from scratch, this might take hours if that's the case...

And eventually, after running the SQL and staring at a spinning hourglass for 10 minutes, you get the result, a giant table of numbers. Now you need to share these numbers, you could spit out a CSV file, but nobody wants a CSV file.

Now you have to take the data and import into Excel, making sure you check the right boxes, and then after that you need to add the formatting, formulas and charts so people can actually infer something from this wall of numbers.

And so you repeat this process of Excel wrangling week after week. And every week you wonder to yourself, “I'm a programmer, I bend computers to my (sometimes) evil will, why can't I make the computer create an Excel file?”

Wouldn't it be great If with a push of a button, you'd start a program to go off and query the database and generate an Excel file for you, with all the charts and formulas you desire.

While it was there it could format the data to a much nicer standard than you had the motivation to do yourself after the element time you created it by hand.

Well the good news for you is that there is an excellently named C++ excel library available to let you create XLS files from your programs. It's called Number Duck and you really should download the free trial here and start creating awesome reports.

Using Number Duck you can create that report in seconds with a push of a button, but don't let the sales department know that, just spend the time saved on Reddit, it will be our little secret.