Douwe Osinga's Blog: 2022

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Neptyne: Making Spreadsheets Programmable

So yeah, it's been kinda quiet around here - famous last words on any blog, but I thought I should at least post something about what I've been up to here. Programmable Spreadsheets. Neptyne!

We tried this whole stealth mode thing. I'm not sure, maybe just developing out in the open is better. But here we are, we're ready to talk about what we are up to. 

After a bit over a 1000 pull requests, we’re ready to start showing a few things. So here it is, Neptyne: the programmable spreadsheet.

Neptyne Screenshot

So this is what it looks like. You have a spreadsheet on the left, a code pane on the upper right and down right a REPL. Write code in the code pane, use it directly from the spreadsheet and type commands into the REPL to try stuff. The code is all Python, but we've extended Python to be compatible with Excel.

So for example, you can just loop through a cell range with:

for row in A1:C10:
    for cell in row:
       if cell > 5:
           cell.set_background_color(255, 10, 10)

To make all cells with a value greater than 5 show up red.
Python screenhsot

Here's another example. We have a simple import function that fetches all the countries from the wikipedia that start with S, dump that into the spreadsheet by just assigning A1 to the results (it will spill over top create a table) and then we have a neat little function that annotates each row with the emoji flag. Finally we have a little widget that shows the countries on a map and shows the flags on mouse over. And all in less than 20 lines of code.

There's a lot more of neat stuff going on. Join the waitlist:

Friday, April 1, 2022

The Clever Bit and the Gold Rush

Gold bars (source: Wikimedia)


Saturday, March 19, 2022

What’s the clever bit?

I realized that the blog linked from my website is still pointing to the this old blogger thing while if I write something these days it is on medium. So I'm going to do some cross posting here to keep links from my website to medium until I come up with something better.

My last day at Sidewalk Labs, the company where I worked on making cities better for the last four years, was December 31st 2021. I’m going to do something new. It’s cool and exciting and I’ll write about it some other time.

Today I want to talk about the clever bit. If you ask me for advice about your startup, I’m going to ask you about the clever bit. What is your unique insight that nobody else thought of so far? It’s not enough to identify a problem to solve, you want to be able to solve it better than other people. Just having a clever bit is not enough of course — you do need to solve a problem for actual people, otherwise you just have a solution looking for a problem.

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