Microsoft is announcing today the general availability of its Excel API and on the surface, this seems like another simple feature for Office 365 but under-the-hood, this is a powerful update. Starting today, developers can use the Excel REST API to incorporate complex calculations easily into applications utilizing this new tool.
In the corporate world, Excel is a fundamental app that is used in everything from financial reporting and forecasting sales for the upcoming quarter to keeping track of inventory. Quite frankly, many smaller companies are using Excel to operate their entire business and baked inside of these spreadsheets are complex computations that often need to be utilized for other applications to help make business decisions.
The Excel API is a tool that developers can now use to access Excel data inside of spreadsheets which means that complex models no longer have to be rebuilt inside of applications. This is a significant improvement to the process flow of utilizing data inside of the Microsoft Graph as it reduces the likelihood of an error being coded into a model and reduces the time to build an application as you no longer need to build the model in the first place.
The extensibility that this API brings to Excel will further solidify its position in the corporate world as an indispensable tool for a variety of scenarios. Considering that the API is just now making its way into a production-ready state, it will be interesting to see how quickly developers make use of this new tool to extend the reach of the spreadsheet application and how this feature will change the rate at which new applications are built.
If you are looking to build an application using the new API, you can find code samples and documentation here.