Great news on the DCXL front! We are moving forward with the Excel add-in and will have something to share with the community this summer. If you missed it, back in January the DCXL project had an existential crisis: add-in or web-based application? I posted on the subject here and here. We spent a lot of time talking to the community and collating feedback, weighing the pros and cons of each option, and carefully considering how best to proceed with the DCXL project.
And the conclusion we came to… let’s develop both!
Comparing web-based applications and add-ins (aka plug-ins) is really an apples-and-oranges comparison. How could we discount that a web-based application is yet another piece of software for scientists to learn? Or that an add-in is only useful for Excel spreadsheets running a Windows operating system? Instead, we have chosen to first create an add-in (this was the original intent of the project), then move that functionality to a web-based application that will have more flexibility for the longer term.
The capabilities of the add-in and the web-based application will be similar: we are still aiming to create metadata, check the data file for .csv compatibility, generate a citation, and upload the data set to a data repository. For a full read of the requirements (updated last week), check out the Requirements page on this site. The implementation of these requirements might be slightly different, but the goals of the DCXL project will be met in both cases: we will facilitate good data management, data archiving, and data sharing.
It’s true that the DCXL project is running a bit behind schedule, but we believe that it will be possible to create the two prototypes before the end of the summer. Check back here for updates on our progress.