Pandemic Journal, Day 472

There are only 65 shopping days until Rosh Hashana, so we are starting to get serious about High Holiday preparation at Shir Hadash. My responsibility for the past few years has been to prepare the invitations for the people who are asked to give a reading or lead a prayer at the service – in a typical year, there are well over 100 slots, each of which requires a customized email, most with an attached cue sheet for the reading.

Naturally, I wrote code to simplify the process; it’s been changed a lot over the years to accommodate changes in membership management systems, but most of it has survived pretty well.

Until this year. I may be away during critical parts of the process, so I wanted to move the code from my laptop to a server so that other people can run it. I thought it would be easy to do – copying my code was trivial, but I needed to install a few Python packages that the code uses – easily done, of course.

When I ran the code, I got an error message from the package that reads Excel spreadsheets, xlrd. It said it couldn’t read a .XLSX spreadsheet, which was odd, because it always had read them before.

I did a bit of Googling and discovered that the author had removed support for .XLSX spreadsheets some time ago and that the package was now unsupported. I probably could have just installed an older version and continued, but I knew that was not a long-term solution.

The GitHub page for xlrd suggests using openpyxl, so I installed it. Its interface is very different from that of xlrd; it’s also easier to understand, but it still requires effort to make the necessary changes.

I wonder how many other programs I have that depend on xlrd?


Shabbat Shalom!