I’ve seen plenty of disinterest and negativity towards ES. I said I would ignore it for a while, which I have. But always with this nagging doubt that maybe I’m missing something major.
Excel Services in MOSS 2007, is a way to recalculate a spreadsheet on a server. You can also get that spreadsheet to suck in data from the traditional range of data sources. You can also supply values in a manual input stylee via the browser.
First off I think the browser aspect is a complete lemon, but you knew that already right?
I guess where ES + browser makes sense is say insurance premium calculations, where there is a lot of calculation required but only a handful of input parameters. And I really think that is where the 2007 version is aimed.
It will be interesting to see where the 14 (officially twenty-ten now) version goes. If its more browser client nonsense that will be a shame, but if it is a richer interaction with a more powerful server that would be appealing. I can say with 90% certainty that ES will never run VBA, as I’m pretty sure MS have promised never to run VBA on a server. But it does do dynamic ranges – as I demoed at the UK XLUC.
But for ES to succeed IMO it needs some User accessible way to add some command based interaction. Eg running a Monte Carlo simulation 500 times on a range of inputs – users do that now in Excel/VBA – If they could move that directly to ES then I think it could take off. Perhaps VSTO/VSTA will fit in here somewhere? Or what about resurrecting XLM ?(yay! go XLM hoo-rah!) (as a server safe sub language). Whatever, but not Visual Studio as business folks are very unlikely to get access to that.
The other thought was the workflow designer from sharepoint, something like that for Excel would be great, especially if server safe.
What might also work well is being able to wrap a call to an ES workbook on some server, passing in the params and retrieving the resultset into the grid, all from a simple to write UDF, that is also simple to distribute.
As it happens I wrote a bunch of xll annuity calcs for a client a while ago, but I can see how an actuary could model it in Excel but maybe not have the time or inclination to re-write it in C# so it can run as everybody’s favourite tech – the web service.
I have done a couple of presentations on ES and there seems some real interest from business users. But there are a few systems/IT/admin roadblocks on the server/licencing side. I hope that gets sorted, even an easy to manage 3/6 month free trial would ease take up.
Anyone else working in ES?