Spreadsheet integration – which approach for which SAP technology
Yet another blog about download to Microsoft Excel… Delivering Web Applications based on SAP NetWeaver to a large number of users (e.g. in B2C or B2B Portals) I received several times questions about spreadsheet support:
- which version of Microsoft Excel do we support?
- do we support spreadsheet applications different from Excel(e.g. OpenOffice.org) ?
- which country version of Microsoft Excel do we support?
I do not intend to answer directly to the above FAQ, instead I’m going to analyze the approach chosen by each SAP technology, then you’ll be able to find the answer to every question. There are so much possibilities in SAP NetWeaver that it is very complex to map every option and every release or patch level. Maybe, commenting this blog, sdn community will produce an exhaustive documentation about the approach used by each SAP technology.
Here is the MAP. I’m sorry for the quality but it is due to sdn image size limitation:
In the MAP you’ll find SAP Technology as columns. I analyzed the last version (Web AS 7.0) of:
- SAPgui – analyzing the ALV export feature (Windows, Java or HTML)
- ABAP Web Dynpro – analyzing the ALV export feature
- JAVA Web Dynpro – I didn’t find ALV support (JSP should follow in this category)
- BSP (doesn’t matter if it is MVC or not)
- ITS (doesn’t matter if it is standalone or integrated
- Visual Composer (Flex)
I excluded BEx (BW – excel front-end) because it is based on Microsoft Excel and usually it is not involved in Collaborative Portals. I’m looking for Web Reporting examples in order to map it
Spreadsheets can be integrated in several ways. I analyzed the following:
- Txt file – a fixed length flat file
- Csv or Dat – each column is separated by a comma or a tab
- Html – rows and columns are described via html tags (see my previous blog: Downloading data into Excel with Format Options (from SAP Web Applications))
- Proprietary xml Excel format – the proprietary XML format used by Microsoft Excel
- XXL Excel – OLE integration supporting Pivot Tables
- Proprietary.xls Excel format – the binary file format used by Excel
Support is explained as:
- Std – it is supported without writing a line of code
- Not possible – It’s really too complex
- Not Std – it is supported writing some lines of code (look the column related to the complexity)
In the map you will find a column for Microsoft Office Excel 2003 and one for OpenOffice.org 2.0 – Calc. Understanding the approach (file type) you should get the idea if other version or different products are supported Keep also in mind that formulas need the right country version.
No SAP technology generates .xls files formatted in the proprietary Microsoft Excel format. At the moment (June 2006), I feel that only ABAP Web Dynpro, thanks to the ALV component, is comparable with the powerful SAPgui. It’s a pity but using the proprietary XML Excel format, it’s focused to Microsoft Excel forgetting other Open Source spreadsheet applications. I’m still investigating in Visual Composer…
I like the HTML approach: it’s simple, it supports advanced formatting options and formulas and in add it is well supported by Microsoft Excel and OpenOffice.org Calc (unfortunately not by spreadhseet.google.com ).