The project is to create a software that lets user forecast health outcomes using a simple (deterministic) spreadsheet simulation model. The setup is currently a pretty typical spreadsheet model: User inputs "model parameters" (about 75 individual parameter values and five 15x1 parameter vectors) on user interface worksheet, calculations are processed on a "simulation model" worksheet and output tables and graphs are displayed on a "results" worksheet.
I have been asked to turn this into a "deployable application" with some additional functionality. Specifically, users should be able to save their model parameter sets (perhaps as comma-separated values?) and save their output as a report consisting of text tables and graphs (ideally in a PDF and/or HTML format). When they run the "application" they should be able to browse through their saved parameter sets and pick one to load in (and have option to create a new one).
Ultimately, it would be especially great if user could interact with the output as well. Instead of just a static set of precanned tables and charts, it would be great if user could be given a summary table and then be able to drill down or generate other tables of more detailed information, etc. One way might be to let user export raw output data as a pivot table and let them use Excel's pivot table functions to manipulate data.
I am seeking advice on a general approach to implementing this. I have decent VBA skills, and also novice experience with Visual Basic Express and Visual Web Developper. Some have suggested that I write the entire software as a web-based tool so user doesnt even need Excel, others have suggested I do the whole thing in VB and store parameter sets as textfiles. The web-based tool approach could work. However, this project also has the goal of buidling transferrable skills for users, so I thought the Excel environment would be nice. The users will be analysts in government offices of developing countries. Some will know pivot tables, but many will not... if as part of the training, they learn to use pivot tables, they can then transfer that pivot table skill to other excel based work they do. My fear is that by giving them a standalone VB application, we will lose an opportunity for the training to teach some transferable skills.