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Halfway to ajax-Excel. Introducing ajaxXLS 0.5

My son's Little League season started two weeks ago. The helpful "team mom" emailed a team schedule to all the players. Unfortunately, it was an .xls file requiring Microsoft Excel to open the file. This is not unusual. The majority of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint users are casual home users who, like the mom in the above scenario, need to simply open a file that's been sent to them and then print it, or maybe make minor edits and pass it along.
Introducing ajaxXLS 0.5

The only way to get Microsoft Excel is to buy Microsoft Office, which costs $400+. Using OpenOffice is another option, but few people know about this product, so they end up pirating a copy of Microsoft Office or trekking to their local computer store and spending a lot of money to solve a simple computing task.

Starting today, the world has another option - ajaxXLS 0.5. This program, like ajaxWrite and ajaxSketch, is an AJAX program that loads in seconds directly over the Internet. One click on and you have a spreadsheet program to open any .xls file. Nothing to buy. Nothing to install. No need to register.

This is the first web service that will open .xls files for free on the Internet, and I hope it will turn into a valuable resource. With this release, we're publishing the methodology whereby any search engine, email client or other software developer can provide a link to an existing .xls document (currently the document must be publicly available online) so that anyone can open it using ajaxXLS. For example, my Mozilla/Thunderbird email client could have provided a URL next to every .xls attachment. When I click it, the document will automatically open and be viewable and printable. See for yourself how a spreadsheet document can be launched right from my web page by clicking on this sample revenue.xls.You can also create a link on your website that opens any spreadsheet in ajaxXLS.

Click here to obtain a copy of the code for your site.

We're making two versions of ajaxXLS available. ajaxXLS 0.5 viewer is suitable for viewing and printing existing Microsoft Excel documents, but it does not support editing. It's the first free .xls web viewer program, but that's only half the problem. People need to edit .xls documents too and we're working on that. We're also making an ajaxXLS 0.51 editor pre-release available which does allow editing, but is not reliable. We wanted to show you the latest products from our lab and what is possible so you'll see the direction we're moving. We'll be making constant improvements to this version which will happen seamlessly on the ajaxXLS web site (which is one of the major benefits of Internet delivered software - you always get the latest version).

Take a look at ajaxXLS
Here's what works in ajaxXLS 0.5 viewer:
- Import an existing .xls document
- Display text
- Display charts
- Preserves formulas
- Displays common formatting (text style, fixed decimal, currencies, date, time)
- Preserves cell background and cell borders

What we're working on for ajaxXLS 0.51 editor:
Saving changes to certain formulas
- Copy/paste with automatic reference update
- Multi-cell fill
- Advanced functions

Even though ajaxXLS is only halfway to where it needs to be, I hope it will grow to be a cornerstone AJAX application. I hope you'll try opening up your .xls files with it and report your experiences in the ajaxLaunch forum so we can make ajaxXLS the best it can be.

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