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I would like to provide a list of prices and discounts for our products for internal and potentially external use. My original idea is to use an Excel spreadsheet with list of items, prices and discounts and a separate tab for each customer. Then I would have a front sheet whereby the user could search for a product to bring up prices, discounts. However this would only be used for internal use.

Another thought is some sort of online table using a mix of XML and DataTables jQuery Plugin which would make it very easy to bring up the latest items based on customer, price etc. The issue with this is it would take more time to set up this system and if we wanted it for external use it would require a login screen so suppliers can only see their own lists.

I’m looking for any tips or advice on the best way to accomplish this task with main constraints being time and setup. I can set up code it all myself.

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Excel spreadsheets (in fact, any file-based solution) are very limited (you find the file blocked when you want to modify something, lots of people can make changes without warnings, you have issues with remote locations due to bandwith/latency).

You can create one as an internal prototype so you get feedback about fields needed and so on, but always aim to the server based solution (let it be webapp or just ODBC). In fact, an Excel spreadsheet connecting by ODBC to your DB would be way better (as long as you keep it internally).

If you offer it externally then yes, go for the web-based solution. And anyway, any service you provide externally should be login based (in fact I would say internal services should be login based too, but for small bussiness it is not that important).

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Thanks is there a way I can quickly set up a online solution with logins and which I can maintain fairly simply? Happy to do some coding but dont want to start from scratch. – rav Aug 17 '12 at 9:47
For what I see I would go for some FOSS solution already packaged; I do not know of something like that but I bet there are some alterntives. In the end it is you who must select the application who better fits your needs and experience. – SJuan76 Aug 17 '12 at 10:07
If you want something quick and easy, A Google Docs spreadsheet would work. This is not ideal, but it has some nice features like version history, shared editing, login support. – Brian Aug 17 '12 at 13:06

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