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file access without download

New member | Level 1
New member | Level 1

Hello

Ive been asked by a company to develop a application for them that will do all their quotes. currently all the items they sell is on a excel book and they want to keep using the excel book to do the costing for items.

so the problem is i need to get the data from the excel book and use it in my app but they obviously dont want the other people using the app to download or have access to the file as it contains all their suppliers etc...

is there a way to load the info from a excel file into a .net app directly without downloading the file??

 

thanks !!!

Willie

13 Replies 13
Highlighted

Re: file access without download

Super User alumni
Super User alumni

You are going to have to download the file in order to read it - that's the way the internet works.  Dropbox won't stream the data to you, you need a database server to do that, and that is an approach that your client seems to have outright rejected.

The only way you can approach this is to create a Dropbox app which has folder level access, so that its restricted to one folder in the clients Dropbox.  Have them put the file to be imported in that folder with a given file name.

Your app can then access this file via the Dropbox API - this will allow *you* to access the file but no one else (other than the other people who have full access to the account).

Your clients are basically trying to replicate the security of a database server without actually having a database server - this isn't going to work and I think you are in for a much harder time going forward as a result (speaking as a professional software developer).

Have you considered using SQL Server for your back end and allowing them access to the data in Excel by using Data Driven worksheets? 

https://support.office.com/en-gb/Article/Connect-a-SQL-Server-database-to-your-workbook-22c39d8d-5b6...

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Re: file access without download

New member | Level 1
New member | Level 1

Richard

Thank you for the fast response.

I would much prefer SQL or aqtually Firebird but they specifically asked me to see if i can do this for them before we change, they are very set in their ways,,,

Thanks for the link that is interesting. i need to get hold of their hosting company to see if they have a mySql server on the site then i guess id make a app to sync the excel file and the sql db. as i dont think they will pay for a sql server...

or a even easier approach is to make a app that just sanitizes a copy of the excel book and that can then be shared...

thanks of the help i just needed to be 100% sure im giving them the right information..

 

Kind regards

Wiillie

Highlighted

Re: file access without download

Super User alumni
Super User alumni

They don't need to pay for a SQL Server, as SQL Server Express is fine for data sets up to 10GB and is entirely free for use (its not just limited to developer use as many think).

It sounds like their entire company is based around this excel file and they aren't willing to change - if that is indeed the case, I would be running very quickly away from this company as it shows they have no real concept of IT and will fight you every step of the way.

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Re: file access without download

New member | Level 1
New member | Level 1

Richard

haha i guess your right! they have been using excel files for tens of years!! i guess they like the freedom excel gives them as all their supplier prices ect is different from sheet to sheet.....

i havent used SQL for years ive been using firebird when i need a db.. but obviously you dont get many hosting companies running a firebird server...

the main reason they were looking at dropbox is they are using it currently for their files so they "like and understand" it.

thanks again for your help, i really hope they will change their minds coz to create an interface for every sheet is gonna be a hell of a lot of work and they will never be able to add any suppliers, where id like them to standardise and then it might as well go onto a sql db!

 

kind reagrds

Willie

 

Highlighted

Re: file access without download

Super User alumni
Super User alumni

the main reason they were looking at dropbox is they are using it currently for their files so they "like and understand" it.

Definitely sounds like a square peg round hole situation I guess I am lucky in that I am in a position to walk away from those sorts of clients these days!

Dropbox is for files, they are now past files and into the realm of *data* so they should be looking at something which fits that.

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Re: file access without download

New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

A soluzion for small excel dB may be is to download the file on memory and operated it on memory in the application. 

No data saved on disk. 

So only the app have access to the full file and you can filter the data to see to the user. 

On python is possible. 

By Marco 

Highlighted

Re: file access without download

New member | Level 1
New member | Level 1

Marco M

Thanks Marco, that would work fine as the excel book is only 400kb..

do you have any code or somewhere i can go look?? i can then try and translate it to VB??

 

Richard P

Your right and even if i can do what marco suggests i would still try and convince them to change..

i actually dont do this for a living just to pass some time   my friend works there so im giving them a hand...

 

Thanks again everyone for the assistance

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Re: file access without download

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Willie, on the Dropbox side of things, you can use the .NET SDK to interact with Dropbox API v2:

https://www.dropbox.com/developers/documentation/dotnet

Our samples are in C#, but as of version 3.0.0 of the SDK, it should work with Visual Basic as well. For example, to download a file (e.g., an Excel file), you could use the DownloadAsync method.

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Re: file access without download

New member | Level 1
New member | Level 1

Thanks Gregory.

Sorry I I took so long I was in hospital with my wife to have our second child! 

I'll look into the download async  and see if I can keep it in memory then it will be fine. But as Richard suggests I'm gonna try and get them on a db with a front end .. then they can use dropbox like they do now but with the vital info going through the db. 

All the generated quotations will be stored as pdf on dropbox. So I need to learn how to put files anyway... 

Thanks again for the help!

Willie

 

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