I write code for an Engineering application where engineers keep giving me various specs in a form of tabular data - for example, a table with product model names and many various parameters for each model.

Engineering is my "customer", since they use the code I create.

I usually encode the data they give me in a database, and build a CRUD interface around it to allow them to update/change/edit the data. This was okay at first, but CRUD interfaces take work, and this programmer is lazy... and engineering keeps creating various new tabular data all the time.

I need a better solution, since this problem is essentially the same all the time but it takes a lot of work to implement and maintain every new occurrence of this problem.

Solution 1 - keep creating CRUD interfaces


  • data duplication: the data lives in the Excel sheets used by Engineering AND in server's database.
  • custom work: I have to do a lot of work creating custom CRUD interfaces for yet another new table (forms, views, tables, JS/jQuery event handling, view/add/edit/delete scripts)

Solution 2 - give customer direct access to database i.e. via a database viewer

This requires training them on use of database, and also may not be security-conscious, and database access tools give too much access, i.e. you can delete historical records that otherwise must be preserved.

Neither are great solutions, and I am looking for a better approach to the problem.

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    cant you just import the excel sheet? – Ewan Sep 13 '18 at 16:38
  • perhaps. I have been thinking about that and may be the way to go forward. It likely won't be as efficient or speedy as a database, and it won't have easily enforceable checks and balances (i.e. entering integers into strings and vv) but it will off-load data needs away from me and onto someone else – Dennis Sep 13 '18 at 16:41
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    Can you find tools to auto-generate the CRUD interfaces? I've seen such a feature in Visual Studio for web apps - not sure if that's applicable here. – Dan Pichelman Sep 13 '18 at 16:45
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    Why store any of this in a database? Does the data get used for something else or just CRUD? If it's just CRUD, is there some reason a folder of shared Excel sheets or some Google sheets wouldn't work better? – Becuzz Sep 13 '18 at 17:43
  • data is used for an engineering program. I use PHP so wherever the data is stored, it has to be accessible from the server storage via PHP – Dennis Sep 13 '18 at 18:27

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