The New Spreadsheet Import Tool

Why a new Import Tool?

Address user pain:
Not have the Import Wizard present a barrier.
Provide one-stop shopping for data import.
Create objects (data types) appropriate for the task and data.
Allow customizing.

Article on New Spreadsheet Import Tool

Spreadsheet Import Tool Demo

R2011b Release Highlights

>Article on New Spreadsheet Import Tool


The old Import Wizard was a key tool in many MATLAB user workflows, allowing users to import data into MATLAB as easily as loading data from a MAT file or opening a file in the MATLAB editor.

Some limitations of the old Import Wizard addressed:

Data format specification - Very limited ability to specify the format of the data when imported into MATLAB, allowing only for cell arrays of strings, arrays of doubles, and arrays of integers for certain binary formats.
Spreadsheet and CSV processing - Very limited flexibility with regards to importing from text and Excel files. This requires these files to have a rather particular structure in order to import gracefully with the import wizard. For example, users can't simultaneously use some non-numeric data in the file as variable names and import other non-numeric data as a cell array of strings.
Variable generation - For many text and Excel files, the old Import Wizard generates one numeric array and one cell array of strings. This combination of variables has proven to be very difficult for many MATLAB users to work with, for instance matching up corresponding text and numeric data stored in different variables.
Code Generation - The MATLAB code generated by the Import Wizard is difficult to read, to use, and to modify.

Project Experience

Driving the creative processes to produce the new Spreadsheet Import Tool as conceived by me was a very challenging and rewarding experience.
From collaborating with visual designers, usability specialists, and application developers to:

•   Driving requirements gathering and documentation.
•   Driving functional design and documentation.
•   Driving architectural design and implementation.
•   Formulating and prioritizing use-cases harvested from interviewing end-users, support and product design teams.
•   Creating production-quality code for use in a consumer-facing application.
•   Defining front end coding standards
•   Creating and translating wireframes and prototypes into production-quality implementations.
•   Acting as primary liaison to UI design team and help define style standards and/or best practices.
•   Conducting design and code reviews as needed and coach team to ensure compliance.
•   Conducting lab usability sessions.
•   Continuously exploring new web techniques, tools, and technologies.
•   Coaching and training new staff including designers and developers
•   Enforcing architectural decisions and coding standards.

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