I'm working on a project where we are tasked to gather and output various data to a spreadsheet.
We are having tons of problems with the file that holds the code to write the spreadsheet. The cell that the data belongs to is hardcoded, so anytime you need to add anything to the middle of the spreadsheet, you have to increment the location for all the fields after that in the code. There are random blank rows, to add padding between sections, and subsections within the sections, so there's no real pattern that we can replicate. Essentially, anytime we have to add or change anything to the spreadsheet it requires a many long and tedious hours.
The code is all in this one large file, hacked together overtime in Perl. I've come up with a few OO solutions, but I'm not too familiar with OO programming in Perl and all my attempts at it haven't been great, so I've shied away from it so far. I've suggested we handle this section of the program with a more OO friendly language, but we can't apparently. I've also suggested that we scrap the entire spreadsheet idea, and just move to a webpage, but we can't do that either.
We've been working on this project for a few months, and every time we have to change that file, we all dread it. I'm thinking it's time to start some refactoring. However, I don't even know what could make this file easier to work with. The way the output is formatted makes it so that it has to be somewhat hardcoded.
I'm wondering if anyone has insight on any design patterns or techniques they have used to tackle a similar problem. I'm open to any ideas. Perl specific answers are welcome, but I am also interested in language-agnostic solutions.