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Silverlight as a Front End to Excel Services


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Presented at SharePoint Saturday NYC 2009, this talk demonstrates using Silverlight 2 as a front end for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) Excel Services. Excel Services can host your …

Presented at SharePoint Saturday NYC 2009, this talk demonstrates using Silverlight 2 as a front end for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) Excel Services. Excel Services can host your business logic and your presentation layer can run on the user's browser using Rich Internet Application (RIA) techniques and web services to communicate back to the server. Because the business logic is written in Excel, the power users can modify the logic and underlying formulas and publish back to MOSS to update the application logic. Read more on my blog at

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  • 1. Silverlight front end to Excel Services
    Talbott Crowell
  • 2. Rich Internet Application (RIA) platform
    .NET in the browser
    Compatible subset of the WPF UI Framework features in the full .NET Framework
    Re-use skills, controls, code and content to build both rich cross browser web applications, as well as rich desktop Windows applications
    Why Silverlight?
  • 3. Excel is a common “language” for business logic
    Power users can update business logic
    They often know it better than the programmers
    Business logic? Anything but logical…
    SharePoint is becoming more and more common
    Why Excel Services?
  • 4. Silverlight 1.0 (Sept 2007)
    JavaScript based
    Silverlight 2.0 (Oct 2008)
    .NET based
    Does not require .NET Framework on client machine
    Silverlight 2.0 GDR 1 (Feb 2009)
    Silverlight Versions
  • 5. Silverlight 2.0 Support
    IE 6 on Windows 2000/XP/2003/Mobile 6
    IE 7/8 on Windows XP/2003/Vista/2008
    Chrome on Windows XP/2003/Vista/2008
    Firefox on Windows
    Firefox on Mac OS 10.4/10.5 Intel
    Safari on Mac Intel and Windows
    Silverlight 1.0 Support
    Firefox on Linux via Mono “Moonlight”
    Firefox on Mac OS 10.4/10.5 PowerPC
    Safari on Mac OS 10.4/10.5 PowerPC
    Silverlight Platforms
  • 6. Silverlight Development
    Silverlight 2.0 Tools for Visual Studio 2008 SP1
    Visual Studio 2008 SP1 or
    Visual Web Developer Express with SP1
    Supported OS: XP, Vista, or Server 2008
    Expression Blend 2 with SP1
    Deep Zoom Composer
    Silverlight Toolkit
  • 7. WPF UI Framework
    powerful graphics and animation engine
    compatible subset of the WPF UI Framework
    re-use skills, controls, code and content for RIA and Windows applications
    Rich Controls
    form controls (TextBox, CheckBox, RadioButton, etc)
    built-in layout management panels (StackPanel, Grid, Panel, etc)
    common functionality controls (Slider, ScrollViewer, Calendar, DatePicker, etc)
    data manipulation controls (DataGrid, ListBox, etc)
    Rich Networking Support
    support for calling REST, WS*/SOAP, POX, RSS, and standard HTTP services.
    Rich Base Class Library
    collections, IO, generics, threading, globalization, XML, local storage, etc
    HTML DOM/JavaScript integration with .NET code
    LINQ and LINQ to XML library support
    Silverlight 2
  • 8. Silverlight UI
  • 9. Silverlight Demo
    Silverlight UI and code walk through
  • 10. ScottGu’s Blog
    8 Tutorials, First Look at Silverlight 2
    Silverlight Resources
  • 11. Windows SharePoint Services 3.0
    Free (as long as you pay for Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008)
    Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007
    $$ Standard version
    $$$ Enterprise version
    Your enterprise (or customer’s enterprise) may already have license
    MSDN Premium Subscription gives you dev copies of all this
    What is SharePoint
    Excel Services
  • 12. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS)
    Enterprise Edition
    Excel Services
    Forms Services
    Development environment
    VPC or Virtual Server ideal
    Excel 2007 for publishing Excel sheets
  • 13.
    • Limited version of Excel client
    • 14. No VBA macros, instead use UDF (.NET Assembly)
    • 15. Can’t edit cells directly, instead use a input panel
    • 16. Don’t need Excel client to use or view workbook
    • 17. Browser is all that is needed to view or run a calculation
    • 18. Do need Excel client to publish (can’t author Excel workbook with Excel Services)
    • 19. Secure way to share workbook
    • 20. Without sharing your formulas
    • 21. Single version of the “truth”
    What is Excel Services?
  • 22. Excel Calculation Services
    The "heart" of Excel Services.
    Loads, calculates workbooks, refreshes external data, and maintains session state
    Excel Web Access
    This SharePoint Web Part
    HTML renderings from the results returned by Excel Calculation Services
    Browser based UI and interaction
    Excel Web Services
    Programmatic access to workbooks
    Excel Services Architecture
  • 23. Excel Services Architecture
  • 24. One workbook many users
    Each user has a session instance of the workbook
    The user can make temporary changes to their own copy without affecting others
    Excel Services Session
  • 25.
    • Web reference to:
    • 26. http://host/_vti_bin/ExcelService.asmx
    • 27. Instantiate Proxy
    • 28. service = new ExcelService()
    • 29. Open workbook
    • 30. sessionID = service.OpenWorkbook(url, culture…
    • 31. Read cells
    • 32. service.GetRangeA1(sessionID, sheetName, rangeName…
    • 33. Update cells
    • 34. service.SetRangeA1(sessionID, sheetName, rangeName…
    Excel Web Services
  • 35. Excel Workbook as Business Logic
  • 36. MOSS App Server
    Excel Calculation Service
    Solution Architecture
    Excel Web Services
    Silverlight Application
    Custom Web Service
    Silverlight 2
    SQL Server
    Mac, PC, etc…
  • 37. Excel Services Demo
    Excel Services Session and code walk through
  • 38. Excel Services Resources
    Excel Services Development Roadmap
  • 39. Silverlight is a powerful platform for Rich Internet Applications (RIA) targeted to cross browsers
    Excel Services can leverage business logic created by the business users
    Excel Services allows business users to update business logic in a tool that is very familiar to them
  • 40. Thank you.Questions about Silverlight front end to Excel Services?
    Talbott Crowell