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Chapter 6. Working with XML Data in Exce... > Separating Data and Logic

6.1. Separating Data and Logic

When spreadsheets first appeared, they brilliantly blurred the distinction between programming and information. Spreadsheet users could enter their data and work on it without having to do things like "programming." All the information could reside in a single file, readily shared, and copy and paste functionality along with a few basic functions ensured that spreadsheets were easy to learn. An unknown but clearly vast amount of business decision-making has rested on spreadsheets, and an incredible amount of business data is stored in spreadsheets.

This power has come at some cost, however. While spreadsheets are accessible, their mixing of data and logic has created a few problems. While copy and paste works well for simple spreadsheets, it becomes complicated quickly if, for example, users try to combine logic from multiple spreadsheets. Suddenly development style matters. Spreadsheet software, with its smart copy and paste features and support for multiple workbooks, has done a lot to simplify this process, but the work involved in making these pieces communicate is still very real. Mergers and acquisitions, for instance, often face a serious challenge in reconciling the spreadsheets used by decision-makers at the various organizations.


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