SpreadsheetWEB allows users to create a user interface (UI) directly from their workbook. While this is a very powerful feature and requires no programming experience, you are limited to a user interface that mirrors the look and feel of Excel applications and, in this capacity, Excel is very limited. We introduced API support in a prior version of SpreadsheetWEB, where a programmer could develop an application and connect it to the SpreadsheetWEB API for back-end calculations; however, the developer would still have to handle deployment on a server and code for security, database integration, email and PDF support, etc.

With version 4.7, we’ve changed that by introducing the concept of a custom application, where users can code the entire UI using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript with no need to worry about security, database integration, or any other features supported by regular SpreadsheetWEB applications. Simply upload the workbook along with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code to your SpreadsheetWEB server – everything else is taken care of, just like a regular SpreadsheetWEB application. Application and data security along with transactional data management is handled through the Control Panel – basically, all you need to do is to code your UI!

This functionality also makes it possible to create elegant mobile-enabled applications, since you can customize your UI though HTML and CSS and control how the UI will behave when opened from a mobile versus non-mobile device browsers. The screenshot below shows a sample mobile UI deployed on SpreadsheetWEB. You can see how the UI conforms to the screen size restrictions of smartphone devices (the JQuery Mobile library was used to build the user interface in this example).


The custom applications functionality also simplifies more advanced features like the solver and Monte Carlo simulations. There are specific add-ins for Excel applications that perform these types of analysis, effectively iterating over the calculations in a workbook until certain conditions are met. Doing this on the web typically requires coding, but with the new custom applications feature you can easily handle iterations in JavaScript by hitting the SpreadsheetWEB server multiple times.

Another new functionality introduced in 4.7 is User Defined Function (UDF) support. UDF is a powerful feature in Excel, typically employed by more advanced users. It essentially allows you to create your custom functions and use them as if they were regular worksheet formulas. UDFs in Excel typically require VBA expertise at a minimum and can only run in Excel applications because they require the built-in Visual Basic runtime that comes with Excel. This runtime can’t really be extricated from Excel to run effectively on a server environment. In 4.7, we’ve started support for UDFs written in C#. If your UDF is written in VBA, it takes a little bit of work to convert it C#, but once it is converted, it will work with your SpreadsheetWEB application. We’ve also made it easy to upload and manage your UDF code through the Control Panel.

All of these features introduced in 4.7 make it possible to develop fully-customizable applications with SpreadsheetWEB. Some of the functionalities that would have previously been very difficult or impossible to build into SpreadsheetWEB are now all possible with the 4.7 version. We will be publishing tutorials and demo applications over the next few weeks, so check back soon for those updates!