GO BEYOND EXCEL
Esports producers know about the advantages of having data automation added to graphics systems, but we believe it is time to move beyond using Microsoft Excel to accomplish this task. Excel provided a convenient tool when the demand was a lot more on-screen statistics. It could run on any laptop, the spreadsheet could be quickly deployed to an on-air machine and graphics could be ready immediately. However, with Microsoft having moved Excel (and the Office suite) to a subscription service, the main advantage of Excel’s ubiquity has evaporated. Without proper logins (and monthly payments), Excel is not accessible. Without an internet connection, the risk of not being able to authenticate and Excel locking out the operator is unacceptably high for a live production. For such an old solution, the risks of failure have become unacceptably high.
.NET FRAMEWORK DELIVERS MORE
XML vs XLS
Graphics data integration using XLS (Excel) format is on a one-to-one basis. The data in a spreadsheet cell is directly linked to a text field or file path on the live graphics machine. The dynamic solution for live graphics can be built around XML. While XPression does require some specific XML formatting, the implementation is not one-to-one like Excel. XML attributes and data structures, combined with some simple scripting on the XPression side, can build sophisticated logic to allow the show’s graphics to handle any number of unique situations. By eliminating Excel’s overhead and developing in C#, we can create a truly custom solution with the focus being efficiency, reliability and performance.