[Chicago-talk] Interfacing to Excel

Sean Blanton, Ph.D. sean at blanton.com
Tue Apr 14 01:11:57 PDT 2009

This is not really relevant, but while we're on the topic, Excel 2003 had an
"XML Spreadsheet" format and I did a fair amount of processing with static
data on that (XML::Twig). I believe that format is obsolete and it was
painful to process as you have to maintain counters for rows and columns

Having users enter technical parameters into Excel for automated processing
can be nice. Some technicians never code, they already have Excel on their
desktop, it's a familiar interface, and it's safer than asking them to
maintain data in a properties or XML file.

In our case, the parameters were for dev, qa and prod server environments
and they fit nicely into columns and rows and you could do things like add
cell validation and color coding. Then, we used perl to extract the data.


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On Mon, Apr 13, 2009 at 2:05 PM, Eric Ellington <e.ellington at gmail.com>wrote:

> I used to do this quite a bit in ActiveState and perl on linux, OLE will
> let you do anything. However, a gotcha is that the perl OLE package is not
> very informative on everything you can actually do with OLE. I always had to
> go digging online for OLE commands, or sit with a VB window open so I could
> browse all of the data and methods that are in a MS spreadsheet. I am sure a
> good microsoft book would work well, but I was to lazy to try and find one.
> As others have mentioned, I belive the proper name for the package is
> Win32::OLE, but I always just said: use OLE;
> I found Spreadsheet::WriteExcel and Spreadsheet::WriteExcel::Utility
> usefull for many taks too.
> Eric
> On Fri, Apr 10, 2009 at 6:31 PM, Michael Potter <michael at potter.name>wrote:
>> Mongers,
>> Can any one point me to an article on the current state of accessing
>> excel spreadsheets using Perl?
>> The problem I am trying to solve is that I want to a) write a value to
>> a particular cell, b) allow the sheet to recalculate, c) read the
>> resultant values, d) repeat 200 times.
>> I want to do this in Perl rather than Excel macros because this is
>> someone else's spreadsheet that I am reading for a conversion project.
>> I am guessing that the recalculation part of my requirements would
>> require me to use windows, that is okay, but I would rather use AIX,
>> Linux, or Mac.
>> All comments appreciated,
>> --
>> Michael Potter
>> _______________________________________________
>> Chicago-talk mailing list
>> Chicago-talk at pm.org
>> http://mail.pm.org/mailman/listinfo/chicago-talk
> --
> Eric Ellington
> e.ellington at gmail.com
> _______________________________________________
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