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Iron Clad Spreadsheets
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Iron Clad Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets aren't the most exciting things, but sometimes they are a necessary evil and occasionally you need to publish the data from Numbers or Excel online. Grid Iron from Chillidog is a stack that will capably assist you in this undertaking.

Greg has just updated Grid Iron to version 3 and it now processes not only Google Spreadsheets, but also CSV and Excel files. Not only that, but Grid Iron also understands Markdown so you can now add links, embed images, bold text, or other HTML styling directly into your spreadsheet.


Your data is added to the RW resources, unless of course you are accessing a Google Spreadsheet, and you have many, many options to format the appearance of your tables.

Grid Iron is responsive – albeit in an unusual fashion: If your data can not be contained within the width of your page, the first column will display a plus button which, when clicked, opens a dropdown with the 'missing' data. This is, of course, a matter of preference and many might prefer a solution with a slider.

But let's take a look at the stack settings. First off, you need to set the format Type for the data that you wish to import. As already mentioned, you may choose between CSV (default), Excel or Google Spreadsheet.

You then need to Link Grid Iron to the data. Sadly, because your data is warehoused, you can't preview your finished table until it has been published online, instead the preview displays a dummy table filled with weather data. This is sufficient for general formatting, but you won't see if your Markdown formatting is correct until it has been published.

Grid Iron automatically formats the first line of data as a header. The stack settings allow you to duplicate the header as a Footer – useful for longer tables. The next option is Responsive Table. If this is deactivated, it doesn't mean that your table has a set width – it will still adapt to your viewport, but you will not be able to activate the dropdown to view any data from the overflow.
When set to Responsive, you can set the colours for the open and close state of the plus/minus button in the first column.

The next settings are for the Table Header Styling. They include Cell Padding; Border Width; Border Style; Enclose Header With Border; Bold and Italic Text; Horizontal and Vertical Alignment; Font Size; Top Spacing; Background Fill colour; Border Colour and Text Colour.

The same settings are repeated for the Cell Styling, but with the addition of alternating colours for the Rows and Omit First & Last Borders. There are two more settings which will allow both Hovered and Selected Rows to be highlighted with colours of your choice. Selected Rows also include formatting for the Focus Borders and Focus Text (see below).

The Table Controls settings let you choose which additional buttons and information are added to your table. The first setting, Controls Display, is a little cryptic at first glance, but allows a number of settings without needing a checkbox for each of them. B=buttons, L=length, S=search, R=processing, T=table, I=info, P=pagination.

One extremely useful feature of Grid Iron is the option to allow your visitor to export the table data in various formats. There are checkboxes for each of the Export Buttons: Copy; CSV; Excel; PDF and Print. But we're not done yet; the colour of the Button, the Button Text and the Button Border in passive and active states may be also be set and then follow settings for the Button Height; Button Padding Button Radius and Button Size. Next follow individual settings for the search box.

We now come to the Pagination Settings. A Grid Iron table does not have to be displayed as a whole, but can be reduced to a maximum number of lines. The default Page Size is 25 lines.Columns, both left and right, can be pinned within the table. This means that however narrow the viewport, the pinned columns will always be visible. It is also possible to hide columns from the table. Search settings will also allow you to exclude specific columns form the search function.

Grid Iron columns can be sorted, ascending or descending. Sorting Settings lets you Exclude Columns from the function while the colour of the Sort Column, Sort Text, the Icon Size and Colours may be set individually.

Fixed Column Settings (you thought we were done, didn't you?) allow columns to have a fixed width in px or % and once more, you can define which columns are affected by this setting.

And now, finally, follow some settings for Status Board for which, sadly, development has been discontinued. However, if you are a Status Board user, you may still take advantage of its functions.

Unlike other solutions, all Grid Iron content is embedded directly within the HTML of your page. This makes it compatible with all major search engines. A lightning fast networking and cache engine means that your sites load faster, and searches give instantaneous results.

When you publish your data, you'll be surprised at the number of files that need to be uploaded. My tip – go and make yourself a pot of tea while you're waiting.

A lot of thought has gone into Grid Iron 3 and if you are in the situation that you need to publish tabular data, you will find it to be a highly professional solution!

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