I've spent the past few weeks building a D3 analysis tool (mainly for myself) to help me understand the impact of changing my gear/stats/paragon points etc as I want to target higher greater rift levels. I decided to go with Google Spreadsheets for a number of reasons:
It's highly accessible for anyone
I've never used it before and wanted to learn something new
After a few weeks, I've managed to achieve a number of features that I have found really useful and thoughts of sharing it with the D3 community have been going through my head for awhile. This has made me re-work some of the tool itself as I want to make it as usable as possible and basically allow anyone to pick it up without having to read a manual on how to use it. However, I've reached a couple of technological limits with Google Spreadsheets that seem to have been present in the spreadsheeting software for a number of years (having seen some bug reports dating back to 2012/2013 and there appears to be no update from Google's side on getting these bugs/missing features fixes/implemented).
Basically, if you were looking for a theorycrafting tool that covered gear, gems, stat calculations, paragon point calculators etc, would you:
Be happy to use a tool built in a spreadsheeting software?
If so, would a barrier to you using it be the fact it's built in Excel rather than a free software like Google Spreadsheet?
If not, would you prefer to go to a website that mimics the exact same features?
Out of curiosity, how many people have access to Excel (I'm mainly asking as re-writing what I've done so far in Excel would be annoying but it would achieve a much better looking end product that is much faster to use and has much more rounded features)?
I have found an older spreadheet developed by someone else specifically for the crusader that quite honestly seems very unintuitive and messy to edit. I'm trying to clean it up and edit it for other classes but haven't made much progress.
To answer your questions directly, I would find an excel format perfectly acceptable. If you're not aware there is a free version of excel online too, I'm not sure what features specifically you need but it very well may be capable of your needs.
It appears folks may need to create an account, but it is intended to be competitive with google, so you may very well find it fits the needs all around.
probably doesn't support mufti-sheet setups like desktop excel, (the one I downloaded and was editing is setup for multi-sheets, and is pretty confusing at first) but i'm not yet convinced even this is necessary for a simple easy to use character Calculator. Some color codes for places to fill in your data should be plenty good.
If you are still worried about folks not getting access to this, then the easy answer is probably LibreOffice/Calc. you can probably even build it using full excel then test it in Libreoffice and save to the more open format it uses (not sure of the extension)
Either way, your hard work is appreciated, the deeper down the rabbit hole I go the more features I want to add the less "simple" things get and I absolutely see the challenge of keeping it simple for layfolk isn't necessarily straightforward.
Good luck, and hope to see the fruits of your labor sooner rather than later!
I would rather build a web application for this kind of purpose then building it on top of google spreadsheets. Spreadsheets is very good if you use it for spreadsheets which have all Formulars internal, but at the moment you try to get data from the outside it starts to suck. For me it would be a great disadvantage to an excel spreadsheet since I do not own Excel. But I use google spreadsheets a lot :-)
It depends what youre experienced with and what you want to make.
I very often simply use open office to make sheets to analyse game stuff.
Sometimes i want stuff that goes beyond sheets, ill program is small application. For this i usually use autoit. I have Cpp experience and education and this is much much simpler to use. If you have no programming background it might be a big step up from spreadsheets. Although... spreadsheets can get quite advanced too :p
Autoit is however free, very simple to use and has excelent online documentation. Still it enables you to do much, much more than you might ask for.