Want to keep up with all of the excitement surrounding the Presidential Election Race? Check out the Election Tracker app for Excel.

The Election Tracker app automatically updates with the latest polling data and predictions for both the Presidential and Senate Races using data from PredictWise.

The goal of this app is to bring the Presidential Election data to users so that they can use the power of Excel to organize and analyze the data. 

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Check out the Election Tracker app here and look out for some of our other great apps that are in the Office and SharePoint store now.

Russell Palmer, a Program Manager in the Office Team explains how the app works and how we went about building it. An app for Office that was built in around 2 weeks!

Hey everyone,

Russell here, from the apps for Office engineering team! I’d like to walk you through the steps we took to build this cool app for Excel.

I don’t know about you, but “election fever” has got a lot of the people here hooked on watching the exciting debates. We wanted to build an app that showed how things changed over time (especially in the swing states) when certain news stories broke, and after each debate.

Our friend David Rothschild at PredictWise provided us with a great data feed and the inspiration of using an interactive map chart. We found some awesome interactive JavaScript and using the Microsoft Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012 (check the tutorial for a walkthrough) were able to connect the “content app” Visual Studio project template with the JavaScript map libraries and our data feed, and create the basic app functionality in minutes.

What’s cool about having this app and all of this great data in Excel, is that now I can create my own mash-up of charts and predictive analysis to come up with my own conclusions on who might win! Excel is a great tool that lots of people are familiar with (to say the least) and has lots of great features around using data.

Next, we worked with a designer to add the header elements, which look great following the Microsoft Modern Design Language. We added a refresh button, and tabs to switch between Electoral College and Senate races on the map.

Election Tracker app headers

After that, we added a few tabs to the workbook (with patriotic color styling, of course Smile) and created separate tables where our app would write the data from the feed. We pre-filled the tables with the data we already had, so the workbook could start with something.

Election Tracker app tabs

Next, we added some Excel charts on top of the data tables we created, for some extra analysis on all the historical data we had kept in Excel.

Excel graphs for more analytics

Finally, we added a JQuery slider control (on top of a custom dateline graphic from our designer) which would change the map coloring based on the date you’re currently viewing.

JQuery slide controller

Throughout the process, we kept our project sync’d between team members using the Team Foundation Service Web app. It was easy to just connect our “content app for Excel” Visual Studio project to TFS and track source control and versioning as we went. Our designer could work on the CSS, while the dev worked on the JavaScript, and our tester tested each major version as we went. We could also easily revert back to different versions of files and/or undo specific check-ins.

When we finished, we simply signed up for an Azure Web sites account and connected the blank Web site to our TFS app project, and with one click our latest version was published to production! Future updates and fixes got automatically published with each check-in (when we chose to), which made upkeep and updates simple for our developers.

I hope you found this blog post helpful and inspirational, and we encourage you to check out dev.office.com, as well as sign up for free trials of TFS and Azure Web sites, and see how easy it is to quickly build great apps for Office.

Thanks for reading!

Russell Palmer, and the Election Tracker app team

Ready to build an app for the Office and SharePoint Store? All the info you need is at dev.office.com where we will also be publishing a number of in-person app building events.