Many of my in-house apps are for summarizing and reporting chromatography data ... Typically I create a zipped data package that includes PDFs of the chromatography for each sample produced by the instrument, a PDF summary report I produce using Asher Dunn's open source classes, and a tab delimited text file version of the summary report for which i assigns .xls as the extension.
Double Clicking on the xls file opens it in Excell (though on one platform you get a wrong format warning). That file is for users who want to add the summary data to their own spreadsheets and/or do more calculations.
That works out OK but I would rather produce actual Excell files that have nice table boarders, columns the right width, alignment etc... While it really would not do much in terms of functionality for the end users, it would just look more professional. Teh end users who get these can either be on PC's or Macs.
BTW some of the machines these apps run on don't have Excell on them, so office automation is not an option.
So being the cheapskate I am, I downloaded the free "Excell BIFF Writer" from RBLibrary...
While it does produce actual .xls files, it does not seem to have any cell/column formatting functions built in... so using it instead of tab delimited files with .xls extensions, does not gain me much.
The other option in RBLibray is not free (though it's certainly not expensive).. It's Norm's ExcelWriter.
The description does not tell me if it can do what I need, nor what file formats it supports. Anybody here using it? Does it support formatting? does it work well? What file formats does it support? xls would be nice as the version of Excell would not matter. Is the API easy to use?
(Norm, Feel free to chime in! ;) )