The underlying concept is very simple: spreadsheets are a way to organize text, numbers and formulas into what might be seen as a natively numeric environment: a matrix. So what would happen if we loosed some of the bolts of the numeric-oriented organization, and tried to reuse the same concepts into a more formatting-oriented environment which is naturally collaborative: a wiki.
While I do encourage you to answer this with some fantastic new online service (please provide me with an account and the best e-book reader device available once you’re rich) I had a try at answering this question myself a while ago by writing the Calc macro for Moin.
Basically, the Calc macro allows extracting values found in a wiki page into lists (think columns or rows), and applying formulas and further formatting as wanted.
I believe there’s a lot of potential on the basic concept, and the prototype, even though functional and useful, surely has a lot to evolve, so I’ve published the project in Launchpad to make contributions easier. I actually apologize for not publishing it earlier. There was hope that more features would be implemented before releasing, but now it’s clear that it won’t get many improvements from me anytime soon. If you do decide to improve it, please try to prepare patches which are mostly ready for integration, including full testing, since I can’t dedicate much time for it myself in the foreseeable future.
Have you looked at WikiCalc (http://www.softwaregarden.com/products/wikicalc/)? It was created by Dan Bricklin, who invented the whole concept of spreadsheets with Visicalc 30 years ago so it has an impeccable pedigree.
I wasn’t aware about it indeed.
Unfortunately I’m unable to check it out as both the tarball and the SVN seem broken (the first returns a 403, and the later seems to have pretty much no content. I even tried to look in the svn log, but to my surprise most messages are empty. :-(
From the website, it looks a bit more like the spreadsheet in Google Documents than what I actually had in mind (there’s not much wiki-ness on it), but it’s hard to tell without trying it out for real.
I’ll keep an eye on it to see if something shows up. Thanks for the pointer!
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