Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Excel is a great tool for many reasons. You can use it to perform basic mathematics, compute complex calculations,
and even as a database. It is also used as a statistical tool, or rather a business intelligence tool. Excel makes it simple
to transform data from one format to another. For instance, importing a CSV file into Excel is a common task that
you’ve probably done at least once in some scenario. I could go on and on—Excel offers an almost endless variety of
possibilities and functions useful in almost every organization.
Because of the rich features of the Excel client, it is very heavily used in the real world. Excel has so many built-in
functions and formulas that users can easily write their own macros to meet specific needs. And they do. So here, what
we’ll discuss is not how to use Excel, but how to share it.
What does this mean, practically speaking? It means a business user who is Excel savvy, can craft complex Excel
sheets with lots of embedded logic and intelligence, and then publish the worksheets to the server right through the
Excel client. And by doing so, the entire calculation logic will be exposed on the server for many clients to consume.
Moreover, business users need to be able to secure the data and formulas on the calculated columns and prevent
others from reauthoring the sheets.
To sum up, we need a server (preferably a web server) where the following occurs:
The Excel calculation engine is available.
Workbooks can run just as they run on your Excel client.
Workbooks can be shared.
Data and formulas are secure to prevent reauthoring.
Excel Services in SharePoint Server 2013 renders workbooks that are authored using the Excel thick client in a
read-only and optionally parameterized and interactive format in the web browser. The worksheets that are published
on SharePoint present the Excel calculation engine and also have the ability to connect with various data sources. And
they can enhance Excel’s calculation abilities through the use of custom user-defined functions (UDFs).
Now that we know where we’re going, let’s take a look at the Excel Services architecture.
Excel Services architecture consists of a number of components that can be grouped as follows:
• Front-end or web front-end server: A representational state transfer (REST) API service,
• Application Server: User-defined functions (UDFs) and Excel Calculation Services (ECS).
• Data Sources: All other data sources.
Of course, you can scale the infrastructure to meet your organization’s needs. While the components are logically
separated as shown in Figure 5-1 , they can all be installed one server if you like.
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