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Office Web Component (OWC) vs. Visual Studio Tools for Office, which is better?

Posted on 2009-04-14
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Last Modified: 2013-11-26
Which is better with regards to functionality?

I have a project before that requires creation of excel file as an output even if the client doesn't have an Excel application. This means it just saves a "file.xls", but you cannot open it since the environment don't have an Excel. Once the user installs an Excel application, the file "file.xls" can be opened.

I used OWC in Visual C# in the development of the project. Can I also use Visual Studio Tools for Office to satisfy the requirement?

Thanks.
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Question by:katlin924
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9 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Dhaest
ID: 24145102
The Office Web Components have been discontinued in Office 2007, and are not included, except as a part of Office Project Server 2007.[1] However, they will still be available for download from Microsoft's website. Microsoft has not yet offered a complete replacement for the Office Web Components. However, programmers can use a combination of third party products, Excel Services or Visual Studio Tools for Office to provide similar functionality.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_Web_Components
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Expert Comment

by:Dhaest
ID: 24145104
VSTO does offer advantages that aren't available in OWC such as embeddable objects in the document surface and bona-fide scalablility for server-side implementations. Outside of these two logical groups, the playing field is even. Remember, these two approaches target the same underlying platform.

A couple serious disadvantages to VSTO is that it requires the .NET framework on the client machine. Interactive office components that run in a web browser is not supported.

Consider your target audience and then make a decision.
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Author Comment

by:katlin924
ID: 24145236
I already know the information you gave me. Thanks. I found it somewhere while researching about VSTO.

I just can't find if VSTO can support that kind of functionality. Do you know if it can? I don't have any idea on VSTO because I am only knowledgeable with OWC.
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Expert Comment

by:Dhaest
ID: 24145254
What exactly do you want to know from VSTO ?

http://weblogs.asp.net/sbehera/archive/2006/04/24/443847.aspx
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Author Comment

by:katlin924
ID: 24145263
I want to know if VSTO can create an excel file output even if the client doesn't have an Excel application on their environment.

Thanks so much.
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Accepted Solution

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Dhaest earned 50 total points
ID: 24145285
Office Interop does require that Office be installed on the server.

In the more general case, you do not need Excel to create worksheets, and you should avoid any solution that requires it for web use. That includes office interop: it doesn't scale in a web environment.

See this question for more options:
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/150339/generating-an-excel-file-in-asp-net
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Expert Comment

by:Dhaest
ID: 24145292
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Author Comment

by:katlin924
ID: 24145388
Thanks so much for the information.

I think I wrote a wrong description of client. The client I am referring is the customer client and not the client-server relationship. I'm sorry for the confusion.

Kindly confirm if my understanding is correct:

<b>Test Environment: </b>
with .NET Framework
no Excel Application


I can use VSTO to create a tool that can generate an excel file. If I deploy the software to the customers, the tool will successfully execute and an excel file can be generated but it is not possible to open it.
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LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:Dhaest
ID: 24147598
Here are some alternatives to create/read excel files without having excel installed

Reading and Writing Excel Spreadsheets Using ADO.NET C# DbProviderFactory
http://davidhayden.com/blog/dave/archive/2006/05/26/2973.aspx

Generate Excel files without using Microsoft Excel
http://www.codeproject.com/KB/office/biffcsharp.aspx
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