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Thanks to Steve Tullis for putting together this post.
Before delving into Excel Services 2010, I want to recap a point that some readers may not be aware of. The Excel team is delivering two browser-based solutions as part of the Office 2010 wave of products. The quick synopsis - here are the two solutions:
In the enterprise, these two offerings can be installed together – at which point, all the benefits of both are realized: A lightweight spreadsheet authoring and collaboration tool AND an enterprise BI and application development tool.
Today’s post is the first post of a series which introduces, then explains in detail, Excel Services 2010. Later on we’ll have a series of posts on Excel Web App.
If you remember, Excel Services 2007 shipped in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 as part of the Enterprise CAL. The focus of the 2007 release was twofold: leverage SharePoint to provide control of Excel workbooks . . . to ensure there existed only one version of the truth; and provide Business Intelligence (BI) capabilities which any SharePoint user could leverage to share data and analysis which they had done in Excel by publishing it to SharePoint and allowing users to consume it via the browser.
Excel Services 2010 is all about continuing the promise we made in 2007, by which I mean:
Let me touch on each of these briefly . . . as a teaser for the blog postings which will be made over the next few weeks.
We heard your feedback regarding file support . . . and have changed our paradigm from refusing to open files which contain unsupported features to making our best effort to open any workbook. For features we partially support, we either show cached values (e.g. query tables) or notify the user and remove the feature prior to displaying the workbook (e.g. Office Art shapes).
Not only have we invested to support common features - such as embedded images – but we also ensured new Excel features are available in Excel Services. Examples of new features include Sparklines, Slicers, PowerPivot, improved conditional formatting, improved functions, and many more.
We continue our tight integration with SharePoint for security, content management, version control, document-level compliance, data connection management, service administration . . . essentially, all those features required to run and manage a service, and to establish and maintain a single version of the truth.
Additionally, we work closely with the SharePoint BI team to ensure tight integration between Excel Services, PerformancePoint Services, and other BI related capabilities shipped in SharePoint. When you get SharePoint Server 2010, create a new site based on the ‘BI Center’ template to see this in action.
We’ve made numerous investments to improve user experience . . . the top investments: we’ve Ajax-ified our service; which means you can refresh elements of a page instead of having every change require a page refresh; and, we’ve introduced scrolling, which means you can easily and smoothly navigate through your Excel content. While these are the most visible investments, there are many, many more.
I know I have introduced more questions than answers . . . by doing so, I hope I have piqued your curiosity about Excel Services. Our plan is to address those questions via posts on this blog over the next few weeks.
As you can tell, this release introduces many new capabilities. I encourage all of you to come back and read these posts. If your questions aren’t answered, let us know. If you have feedback or suggestions, let us know those as well. We are very excited about the changes and improvements we’ve made – I am certain that what you see over the next few weeks will provide great insights into how you and your organization can benefit from Excel Services 2010.
Does the Ajax optimization and collaboration improvements include real-time sharing of documents with locked cells for another user changing a cell on the same worksheet you might be working on. This has been offered in OpenOffice for a couple of years now; I've been hoping it would show up in Excel since we have clients that share Excel worksheets within Sharepoint.
Rich: The collaboration improvements, I'm referring here to Excel Web App, do indeed include real-time shared editing of spreadsheets. For the 2010 release, Excel Web App does not offer any locking mechanisms during collaborative editing. I'll have more details around this when we talk about Excel Web App in a couple weeks. I would love to hear more about your usage of collaborative editing and your need for locking mechanisms. Feel free to reply here or drop me a message by clicking on the e-mail button at the top of this page. Thanks.
What will the licensing requirements be for these new offerings in 2010?
Will either of these 2 solutions provide compatibility with the Visual Studio Tools For Office programming model? For example, will it provide the capability of extending the Ribbon UI, adding CommandBars and supporting XML Map's?
Here is a question about VBA. I am not sure if it fits in here.
We all are hoping to see a solution for the known issues with listbox column headers:
1. You cannot write captions to the column headers. There should ideally be an array object with a Caption property that values can be set to at run time.
2. The column headers should not be a part of the actual list, meaning the users should not be to select it. As of now we have to prevent them from doing this programmatically.
Thanks for your comments on these issues.
Is there any option that we able to use slicer option in Excel 2007
Apologies for the delay in responding.
Mike: Thanks for your feedback. Currently the programmability model that exists for the desktop version of Excel, including VSTO, does not work on the server.
Sachin: I issue with listboxes has not been addressed in Excel 2010.
Muhammad: Slicers are only available in Excel 2010.
Dean: We are still working on finalizing licensing and will share this information as soon as it becomes available.