Advice on strategy for maintaining state in Camping

Dave Everitt deveritt at
Sat Oct 8 08:53:01 EDT 2011

Anders - if you get this working, do let us know (with any relevant  
links). It'd be good to show the world... I worked for some time on  
disability/technology/art projects, and I know at least one large UK  
network of users that would be interested - DaveE

> Hi,
> I need a little advice about maintaining state in Camping.
> I use NaturallySpeaking voice recognition software for most of my  
> work -- I don't have happy hands -- and I've been creating little  
> Ruby projects to make it easier to do some things by voice. I'd like  
> to build a UI for them.  After some painful experiences with some  
> windows-based UIs, I'd like to try using Camping – it looks like  
> fun, and I can use my HTML/CSS skills to make something pretty.
> For most of these little Ruby projects, I don't have to store  
> anything in a database because the data is already being stored  
> elsewhere. For example, I'm managing a team that's building a  
> Microsoft-based data warehouse that uses Excel pivot tables as a  
> front-end, and pivot tables are hard to manipulate using  
> NaturallySpeaking. On my Camping site, I want to be able to display  
> a long list of the available pivot table fields so I can click on  
> them by voice.  I also want a text box so I can say, e.g., "show  
> department and unit by row, year by column" or "only show fields  
> containing committee." So all I need to store is the info I'm using  
> to manipulate the pivot table:  the connection to the Excel  
> worksheet and a list of the available fields that I grab from the  
> Excel worksheet plus one or two properties about these fields. I  
> don't need to save any of this info -- I grab it once at the  
> beginning of the session, and I don't want to cache it because, for  
> example, the list of fields will change depending on which data  
> warehouse "cube" I'm connecting to.  I have other projects where the  
> data is stored on a website/application that I'm grabbing/ 
> manipulating using Web services/APIs. In short, I don't need to  
> permanently store any data, I just need to maintain state for a  
> relatively small number of objects.
> What's the easiest way to do this in Camping? Is there a way to  
> cache the list of field objects? Or does it make more sense to store  
> them in a database and purge & refresh the data in the database each  
> time I start up the Camping site?
> Thanks!
> Anders
> PS Maybe you're thinking, "using Excel pivot tables as a front-end  
> to a data warehouse??" It does sound bizarre, and I was pretty  
> skeptical at first, but it actually works pretty well. Microsoft has  
> put a fair amount of work into turning Excel pivot tables into a  
> pretty decent data warehouse front end.  And since you're just using  
> Excel, you get all the goodies are built into Excel. Not a good  
> front-end if you are creating straightforward dashboards that are  
> totally locked down, but if you have a pretty broad range of fields  
> and you're encouraging folks to slice and dice the data themselves,  
> it ends up being easier than most of the other tools out there.
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