I was thinking about the issue James mentioned with historical data “deciding which Fixometer categories items in the spreadsheet belong to” - and that was definitely one of the steps I had to do on a small scale: going from the brief description of every item in my spreadsheet like ‘radio’, ‘HP printer’, or ‘trousers’, I had to manually decide for each and every one what Fixometer category it should be in. Then I had to do the same again on my second and third spreadsheet, remaking many of the exact same decisions but also a few new ones on each new spreadseet.
That wasn’t a lot of work for me because I only had in total about 70 rows, but I had to make a decision on every single row even if I’d made the same decision earlier in the same sheet or on a previous event spreadseet.
My suggestion as a result is that if it is possible to upload with the actual (needed) fixometer data a little extra data - specifically the Item name that has been manually mapped to a Fixometer category - then if the next version of the spreadsheet template download gets enhanced with these mappings and they can be automatically used, i.e. by using vlookup of all previous mappings item->category. All of a sudden then for my fourth spreadsheet I will only have to make decisions on the items that hadn’t ever been mapped to a category before. Or I could decide to change ‘HP Printer’ to ‘Printer’ and that’s a mapping I did on the first spreadsheet.
Happily this reuse of previous mapping item->category will also work for different languages for the items - once the mapping has been made once from e.g. Ordinateur or Computadora de escritorio to Desktop Computer then it will simply become part of the mapping table generated into the template spreadsheet.
There’ll be some routine maintenance to do every now and then when someone chooses a different mapping e.g. for Ordinateur to Laptop Large - but I’d have thought that’s a small price to pay to make it a lot easier to upload data. Other maintenance might be needed whenever you add a new category perhaps you review the existing mappings to things near that category and revise some of them to use the new category - this could (or maybe make a policy decision not to…) also revise all the existing fixometer data.
So how about it, @neil can you make the upload also store a column headed Item and record the mapping of Item->Category to be generated into the spreadsheet template? And maybe that Item field could be optional on the normal data entry page - if you use it then the Category field is likely to be filled in for you rather than you having to search through the list.
There might be another place to use this technique of storing of extra data to help with mapping of older spreadsheets to the fixometer - in my case for the repair result I had different values from the Fixometer, e.g. Repair Completed->Fixed, Repair not finished->Repairable and Irrepairable->End of Life. If these mappings can be stored with the uploaded data and then exported in the template, once again transforming older data into the fixometer gets a lot easier because you only have to worry about the blank cells which indicate there isn’t a previous mapping.
I’d also like to ask for a couple of other features which I don’t think should be difficult to implement - but I’m open to easier-to-implement alternative suggestions to achieve the same effect.
Please implement this so the upload finds the columns it needs using specific headings for the columns, and doesn’t mind about/ignores columns that it doesn’t need - so I don’t have to edit my spreadsheet to remove what strictly speaking is unnecessary data, just for the upload. These extra columns must not be stored, because they might be housekeeping or relatively confidential data like the client’s name or something like that.
Please can you add an allowed value for category such as ”Ignored row” so I can map e.g. the trousers, and tool sharpening items to Ignored row and they are simple ignored - again this is so I don’t have to edit/delete what is strictly unnecessary data for the purpose of the upload. I don’t mind if you store the important fields from these rows as they don’t contribute to the fixometer, obvs - but storing the data even though it is initially ignored will mean that in a future where fixometer starts taking non-electrical information all that needs revising is the mapping of trousers->Ignored row to trousers->light clothing and you get the data straight away.