Monday, March 12, 2007

Excel: in contradiction to services oriented architecture

In October of 2001 Joel Spolsky described how Excel was built, and why it worked so well:
In Defense of Not-Invented-Here Syndrome - Joel on Software

... I stopped by Andrew Kwatinetz's office. He was my manager at the time and taught me everything I know. "The Excel development team will never accept it," he said. "You know their motto? 'Find the dependencies -- and eliminate them.' They'll never go for something with so many dependencies."

In-ter-est-ing. I hadn't known that. I guess that explained why Excel had its own C compiler.

Not so fast, big boy! The Excel team's ruggedly independent mentality also meant that they always shipped on time, their code was of uniformly high quality, and they had a compiler which, back in the 1980s, generated pcode and could therefore run unmodified on Macintosh's 68000 chip as well as Intel PCs. The pcode also made the executable file about half the size that Intel binaries would have been, which loaded faster from floppy disks and required less RAM...
Uh oh. I've always thought of Excel as the one exception to Microsoft's generally despicable software. So it turns out the secret contradicts my enthusiasms for shared services? Sigh.

Interesting note, by the way, on the value hidden in the archives of blogs. Joel wrote this almost six years ago.

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