SharePoint Excel services - a primer

Excel Services is part of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. Excel Services is built on ASP.NET and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 technologies. There are three core Excel Services components:

Excel Services is part of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. Excel Services is built on ASP.NET and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 technologies. There are three core Excel Services components:

  • Excel Web Access
  • Excel Web Services
  • Excel Calculation Services

Excel Services handles communication among the three components and load-balances the requests made to Excel Calculation Services.

The Excel Web Access, Excel Services, and Excel Calculation Services components can be divided into two major groups: the components on a front-end server (also known as the "Web front end"), and the component on a back-end application server.

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Excel Web Access

Excel Web Access is an Excel Services Web Part in Office SharePoint Server 2007 that renders Excel workbooks on a Web page, and allows the user to interact with those workbooks and explore them. Excel Web Access does not require anything to be installed on the user's client computer.

Excel Web Services

Excel Web Services is the Excel Services component that provides programmatic access to its Web service. Applications that call Excel Web Services to calculate, set, and extract values from workbooks, as well as refresh external data connections.

Excel Calculation Services

The role of Excel Calculation Services is to load workbooks, calculate them, call custom code (user-defined functions) and refresh external data. It also maintains the session state for interactivity. Excel Calculation Services maintains a session for the duration of interactions with the same workbook by a user or caller.

Business data integration with Excel Services

Seamlessly integrate external data into your applications using the Business Data Catalog (BDC), part of Office SharePoint Server 2007. The BDC simplifies the process of discovering and accessing data residing within back-end line-of-business applications. Discover back-end data quickly using SharePoint search and interact with data through a set of Business Data Web Parts.

With the BDC, you can: Search your business data as easily as you search your other content repositories. Office SharePoint Server 2007 provides an integrated, Enterprise Search experience across your enterprise data ranging from file shares, Web sites, Microsoft Exchange Server, Lotus Notes and line-of-business applications.

sharepoint_excel2Microsoft Office Excel-based Business Intelligence

Excel Services extend the capabilities of Microsoft Office Excel 2007 by allowing broad sharing of spreadsheets, improved manageability and security and the ability to re-use spreadsheet models using a scalable server-based calculation service and interactive Web-based user interface.

With Excel Services, you can:

  • Broaden the access and availability of spreadsheets by incorporating interactive spreadsheets into business intelligence portals, dashboards, and scorecards.
  • Secure and protect confidential information and maintain one version of the truth by locking down access at the server.
  • Reduce development costs, and improve time to market by using Web services to access models and data contained in spreadsheets.
  • Use Data Connection Libraries to provide an easy way for your users to share, manage, and discover connections to external data repositories without requiring any knowledge of the technical details.



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About the author

Philippe Bogy
Philippe Bogy