Friday, November 06, 2009

What is Excel Services ? What is REST API ? What is Excel Services 2010 REST API ?

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What is Excel Services ?

Excel Services 2007 shipped in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 as part of the Enterprise CAL. Excel Services 2010 provides real-time, interactive, Excel-based reporting and dashboard capabilities which ship as part of SharePoint Server 2010. Also it includes APIs which enable rich business application development. One such API is Representational state transfer ( REST ) API.

What is REST API ?

A RESTful web service (also called a RESTful web API) is a simple web service implemented using HTTP and the principles of REST. Such a web service can be thought about as a collection of resources. The definition of such a web service can be thought of as comprising three aspects:

  • The base URI for the web service
  • The MIME type of the data supported by the web service. This is often JSON, XML or YAML but can be any other valid MIME type.
  • The set of operations supported by the web service using HTTP methods (e.g., POST, GET, PUT or DELETE).

More about REST can be read on Wikipedia.

What is Excel Services 2010 REST API ?

The Excel Services 2010 REST API is a new programmability framework that allows for easy discovery of and access to data and objects within a spreadsheet. The data, including charts, that is returned by the REST API is not static – it’s live and up-to-date.

With the REST API, any changes in the workbook are reflected in the data that is returned. This includes the latest edits made to the workbook, functions that have recalculated (including User Defined Functions), and external data that is refreshed. The REST API can also push values into the workbook, recalculate based on those changes, and return the range or chart you requested after the effects of the change have been calculated.

By crafting the proper URI, the REST API allows you to:

  • Discover the items that exist in a workbook, such as tables, charts and named ranges
  • Retrieve the actual items in the workbook in one of the following formats: Image, HTML, ATOM feed, Excel workbook
  • Set values in the workbook and recalculate the workbook before retrieving items

The content above is a re-draft of the original article on Microsoft Excel Blog, and it has been re-drafted for the sake of simplicity of understanding.

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