Future of Hillmaker

From Access to Python


Mark Isken


February 28, 2013

Many years ago I created an MS Access add-in called Hillmaker for doing time of day and day of week based occupancy analysis in health care delivery systems. A typical use would be to find the mean and 95th percentile of occupancy in a set of nursing units or an emergency department. Hillmaker was released as an open source project back in 2005 and has gotten quite a bit of use. However, I never really did any more development on it even though there were a number of enhancements that I (and many others) would like to have seen. The only attention it has gotten from me was in response to the object library problems caused by new releases of MS Office. No fun.

While VBA is fine, I’ve always wanted to make Hillmaker less MS-centric and to decouple it from MS Access. Installing Access add-ins can be a hassle as they require changes to the Windows registry and some corporate settings frown on this. So, I hacked together a proof of concept version using Python with the pandas module for some of the number crunching and with matplotlib for plotting. Seems to work. Seems to be fast. Made it work with text files, Excel, Access and SQL Server based data.

Now I need to find the time to turn it into a real Python based app.


BibTeX citation:
  author = {Mark Isken},
  title = {Future of {Hillmaker}},
  date = {2013-02-28},
  langid = {en}
For attribution, please cite this work as:
Mark Isken. 2013. “Future of Hillmaker.” February 28, 2013.