Microsoft Excel Mashups

Microsoft Excel TrainingMicrosoft’s Excel team have just launched ExcelMashup.com – a site that shows you how to embed Excel workbooks on web pages and even create powerful Excel apps using JavaScript.

Excel is an incredibly powerful tool which has yet to make much of an impact online. Office Apps is great as it allows users to work on documents anywhere in the world but the functionality is still limited and essentially it is just Excel on the cloud.

In the past Excel users have been able to upload spreadsheets direct to the web or to export data as static tables. However, with Excel Mashups developers can now create rich applications using a JavaScript Api and embed them on their website.

To use Excel Mashup¬†you simply have to upload a workbook to a public SkyDrive folder – you can sign up to SkyDrive free with any email address, it doesn’t require a Hotmail login. You then have the option to embed the workbook or to play around with the JavaScript Api to create a Mashup.

As well as plenty of walkthroughs to help you use the service, Microsoft have produced two sample applications:

Destination Explorer Mashup

Excel Bing Destination Explorer Mashup

This mashup combines an Excel workbook with Bing Maps to create an application that produces weather and visitor data for locations round the world. As an example app this is very basic but it shows the potential of Excel mashups. It enables visualisations of powerful workbooks for end users. The back-end data of the work book – visitor and weather details for a huge number of locations – but to produce an app that filters the data into charts and a map suddenly makes an unwieldy spreadsheet into a useful tool for holiday makers who want to know about possible destinations.

How Healthy Was Your Meal Today?

Excel Mashup

Slightly more functional than Destination Explorer – and certainly more in depth – is ‘How healthy was your meal today?’ Users are able to input what they’ve eaten in a day and the app will produce nutritional¬†information and compare it to recommended allowances.

Apps like these are already available – a large number of them on mobile devices – but they require developers to create custom tables for the app to draw data from. Data that probably already exists in an Excel workbook. By helping developers create apps directly from Excel spreadsheets, Microsoft are simplifying app development.

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Andy Trainer


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