Serve Calculating Forms And Live Charts From Windows Servers With Excel

What does it take to create an interactive web form, with a Flash chart that updates automatically, reading data off a Windows server? Well, if you can create a prototype in Excel, this tool converts it into a full-fledged Windows server application.

June 20, 2010 — The SpreadsheetConverter add-on to Microsoft Excel lets you automatically convert Excel spreadsheets to live web pages, with all calculations performed by separate server components running in the Internet Information Server (IIS) on any Windows server.

The conversion to web format retains the interactivity that is typical of a spreadsheet, and the entire visual layout is carried over to the web page. Charts are converted to Flash animations that automatically update when the data in the web form or online calculator is changed.

All calculations are performed on the server by separate ASP.NET or classic ASP modules, freeing the browser from the workload required to do all the computations. This enables the browser to handle complex user interface logic even for very large web pages.

“Our primary asset is a standard library of functions that correspond to what you can do in Excel. If it can be done in Excel, it can now easily be ported to a client/server web environment”, says Anna Winter, sales manager for SpreadsheetConverter.

A classic disadvantage of moving workload to a server is that the user is forced to enter all information at once, press a “send” button, then wait until the server responds. With version 5 of SpreadsheetConverter to ASP.NET, the browser can communicate each little change separately to the server with asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX). While the user moves on to edit the next field in the form, the server dynamically instructs the browser to update any fields or charts that were affected by the previous data entry.

“AJAX has been around since 2005 and is pretty much standard fare these days. Even Google uses it, in Gmail and Google Maps, and it’s supported in smartphones”, says Winter.

Since a portion of the web page resides on the server, it’s much easier to fetch data in a database, e.g. the current interest rate, or interact with other server applications.

Other SpreadsheetConverter products have published spreadsheets on the web since 2002, with formula calculation in JavaScript, Flash or Java. The new version 5 adds many new user interface features like calendars, sliders and ratings. Several new chart types are supported and the formatting options have been extended. A new data entry wizard uses Next and Previous buttons to allow the visitor to advance step-by-step through a form.

SpreadsheetConverter is available for free trial at . It creates web pages that are completely standalone, do not use Excel and run on all web servers. You only need Excel and the Spreadsheet Converter add-on for the actual conversion from spreadsheet to web page format. There are no monthly, per-server or per-user fees, and you may use the program and the web pages it creates for as long as you like. Full versions start at $187.


Media contact: Anna Winter,


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