Publishing data tables


In a comment on Euan's post about scientific blogging plugins (the answer to most of which, at least relating to bibliographic metadata, was COinS via Zotero) , Heather Piwowar asked about the easiest way of getting tabular data into a blog post. I replied

  1. Make the table in Excel.
  2. Copy the table from Excel and paste it into Word.
  3. Save the Word document as HTML.
  4. Copy the table HTML out of the saved file and paste it into Wordpress using TimyMCE's 'Paste From Word' button, which cleans up the HTML.

which works, but is a bit long-winded, and awkward to repeat every time the data changes. Here are some more options, in ascending order of preference:

WP-table, a plugin for Wordpress that lets you import and store tables then insert them into blog posts as required. Again though, if this data's coming from an external spreadsheet you have keep the data in sync in both places.

Keep the data in a MySQL database and insert it dynamically into a post with PHP, but if you have to use a spreadsheet that won't work.

Use Google Spreadsheets and access the spreadsheet through the Spreadsheets API, transforming it dynamically into an HTML table.

Link to an external file on a centrally-hosted version-controlled repository, kept automatically in sync with your local machine. That would probably be best of all.