Welcome to my latest development called Bumblebee – an Excel and Dynamo interoperability plugin that vastly improves (in my opinion) Dynamo’s ability to read and write Excel files. This development would’t happen without help and previous development from David Mans at NeoArchaic, of which this Bumblebee not only takes its name but a lot of inspiration and code. The plan is that eventually improvements and changes that were implemented here will find its way to Grasshopper’s version of Bumblebee and they will become one. Until then, Dynamo users rejoice!
Of course you can get Bumblebee from Package Manager and unlike my previously developed Mantis Shrimp there is no tricks to getting it installed. It will automatically drop a handful of components to your packages folder in Dynamo directory. For specific instructions on how to use each one of the components and what is possible to achieve with each one of them you can refer to Bumblebee Primer: BB Primer
To download BumbleBee from Package Manager just search for it by name:
Here’s an example of Bumblebee in action:
Most basic functionality that Bumblebee (BB) will support is reading Excel files. It allows for reading either an entire document or a specific range from it. Ranges can be created in a variety of ways where you can choose an origin and extents or only either origin or extent. Each way has its unique advantages for users and in general offers a lot more flexibility than OOTB Dynamo Read Excel node. You can even read more than one Worksheet at the time. Awesome!
Besides extended reading abilities, BB was also well educated in writing. It can write data to single sheet but also to multiple sheets as well as to single sheet but starting from multiple origin points. What was previously not possible – leaving blank rows while writing data – is now very much possible.
All of this enhanced writing abilities comes from the idea that you can send “pockets” of data to excel and define an individual origin or even a sheet name for each. All this is done using a new class called BB Data so you can do stuff like this and write multiple sheets at once. Double awesome!
Also, BB now supports an array of conditional formatting styles. For those of you that use Excel extensively you know that you can really quickly use formatting styles to highlight certain aspects of your data sets. Now you can set formatting rules right from Dynamo and do some amazing things – highlight missing information or incorrectly provided information.
Now, that is pretty cool if you ask me. Finally a tool that I can use to visually verify my data and keep my Excel loving PA’s happy.
Also, I am super happy with something that a friend of mine – Adam Sheather – has developed as courtesy to me. I asked him if it was possible to improve the currently available color selection in Dynamo and he has responded with the coolest (1990s Excel style) Color Picker. Now packaged under UI++ will come super handy for Bumblebee users and many others – especially now that Dynamo supports color preview. Thanks Adam!
Of course this is not the end of Bumblebee, this is only the beginning. I am releasing it now to public so that more of you can get your hands on it, and break it. Yes, I hope that you break it, only so I can improve it. It’s an open source project with all source code available on GitHub: BB GitHub, so I am hoping that all of you can contribute as well. Please feel free to post comments and issues to GitHub as it makes it easy to track development and tasks.
Also, Bumblebee Primer is an Open Source project with all of the files on GitHub. Same rules apply here. Please feel free to post comments there or develop new functionality.
Right away I can say that my next development will be adding Charts to Bumblebee, but before I get there i will probably be working on material for my ACADIA workshop. :-) I will provide more details about that as everything crystallizes.