Microsoft Launches Service to Mashup Excel Documents in Web Apps

By December 13, 2011

I recently stumbled upon a new Microsoft product – Excel Mashup. While I am eternally skeptical about Microsoft products, I do find Excel very useful, so I decided to dig into the service.

An Excel Magic 8 Ball. Magical.

The gist of Excel Mashup is that it allows you to create web applications around Excel documents. To do this, you must first upload an Excel document to Microsoft’s cloud storage service SkyDrive.
Then, you use Microsoft’s Excel Services Javascript Library to manipulate and get information from the workbook.Users can download the excel workbook and share the link with others.
That’s pretty abstract, so let’s look at a real example.Shahar Prish, writer of Cum Grano Salis (Grain of Salt) on Microsoft’s Developer Network, showed off an application that allows users to annotate and share interesting information they found in Excel Workbooks. A user can highlight part of a workbook online and make a note about what they found. Then, the user can share a link to this finding, which will take users to the part of the notebook where the note was made.

Most businesses use excel data to model and track everything from sales to productivity to expenses, so I imagine that this could be valuable for organizations looking to collaborate or use excel data in internal applications.

It’s hard for me to say a Microsoft product is sexy, so I will just say that this could be extremely useful for building applications around a data format most businesses use everyday.