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Feedback Requested: Are you developing for the Cloud with Open XML? - OpenXML Developer - Blog - OpenXML Developer
Goodbye and Hello

OpenXmlDeveloper.org is Shutting Down

There is a time for all good things to come to an end, and the time has come to shut down OpenXmlDeveloper.org.

Screen-casts and blog posts: Content on OpenXmlDeveloper.org will be moving to EricWhite.com.

Forums: We are moving the forums to EricWhite.com and StackOverflow.com. Please do not post in the forums on OpenXmlDeveloper.org. Instead, please post in the forums at EricWhite.com or at StackOverflow.com.

Please see this blog post for more information about my plans moving forward.  Cheers, Eric

Feedback Requested: Are you developing for the Cloud with Open XML?

Feedback Requested: Are you developing for the Cloud with Open XML?

  • Comments 10

This blog post is a request for information. We’re interested in doing a series on how to build with Open XML in the cloud and we want to hear what you are doing and how we can help. 

  • Are you developing for the cloud, and does Open XML figure into your solution in any way, shape, or form?
  • Do you want to use Open XML in the cloud, but don’t know the correct technologies to use?
  • In what scenarios (broadly speaking) would Open XML be useful to you in the cloud?
  • What examples or proofs-of-concept would be useful to you?

I’ve been considering all of the following usage scenarios for Open XML in the cloud. Do these fit your needs? Are there more you would like to see?

  • Generation of a document in the cloud, and making it available for download to the user’s computer through the browser.  Imagine updating a database in the cloud, and then generating a report for upper management from that database.
  • An advanced version of document generation: compile a complex document from a variety of other Open XML documents.  Imagine assembling a legal document from a collection of ‘stock’ legal documents.
  • Document validation – imagine a scenario where a large government organization accepts grant applications via Open XML.  They might have some requirements, such as that the document contains no tracked revisions or comments.

Of course, I am very much interested in what you can do with Open XML in Windows Azure, but I am also interested in what you can do with Open XML on a variety of other cloud platforms.

Please respond in the comments below – let’s make this a public discussion.  I am fully aware that the vast majority of Office and Open XML development does not happen in the cloud, so if you are in the minority that is doing cloud development and are using Open XML, please let me know what you are doing, and how we can help.


  • Hi Eric,

    You and I corresponded via email some months back about an issue I was having repeating data across table columns (not just down rows). I managed to hack something together for that but it was elegant or dynamic so I moved on until the problem resurfaces. But I digress..

    For me, pretty much yes to all of the above!

    Basically every major web app I've put together in the last 6 months has features openxml in some form. At the moment I'm putting together a CRM in ASP.NET MVC which generates invoices from the database and emails to the end user. The same system is also producing order forms to external vendors again using openxml.

    The only shortcoming I have with this process is the ability to produce PDF's server side without Sharepoint (yes, I just tweeted about 5 minutes ago at you!). I'm working on a webserver and I've found little support for anything except Microsoft Office Automation which isn't the preferred method, or it costs about $2k per site.

    Apart from this I've done two pretty major implementations which are template driven but have more flexibility for the end user to interact and change the templates. One is a workflow and tracking system which produces a number of key documents during the lifecycle which are hosted and downloadable through the website, as well as emailed automatically as part of certain processes.

    My largest is a legal document preparation system which has hundreds of template documents which are populated based on user input through the app in the cloud and downloaded the local PC. I've extended that one to include a word addin which allows the users to generate templates based off a pre-defined structure with custom calcs etc.

    Is there any specific feedback you're all after? :)

  • I am. It's an cloud-based convertion service from Open XML to another format. The only reasons it is cloud-based instead of local are to ensure source-code of the conversion code is safe and can be easily updated regularly with fixes, new conversion routines, etc..

  • Great, thanks.  I think that cloud is important, and will be coming out with new content over the next six months showing how to use various technologies with Open XML.

    I appreciate the responses.  For folks who have not responded yet but are working in the cloud with Open XML, please do consider letting us know about your scenario.

    Thanks, Eric

  • NuPitch is a commercial application that utilizes OpenXml to generate personalized documents utilizing the Open Xml SDK in Azure.

    Users define templates within native Office applications with our plug-in that define variability in a document.   This can include simple variable replacement, dynamic table and charts, external images, rule based content selection, etc..  

    Data that drives the personalization can come from Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, any web service that returns XML or JSON, Excel spreadsheets, flat files, SQL Azure, or a variety of other commercial data providers.

    Once the template is complete the template is uploaded to Azure and can be requested through a Silverlight application or on the iPad.  

    The entire system requires no programming of any kind.  This includes data access, open xml manipulation, and the requester interfaces used to request the documents.

    Throughout the process of building the application we've found this site to be a very valuable resource.   As you move forward with a discussion about cloud hosted solutions that utilize Open Xml we'd love to return the favor and participate in the discussion.

  • Hi,

    I have published an applicationfor WP7 named 'Tennis Player Stats'. In this app, I upload to SkyDrive an xlsx file generated with fantastic Silverlight API by Chris Klug. Evrything works fine except that open xml schema doesn't accept French culture and I encounter an issue with decimal separator forced to '.' . Excel files don't open on Office web apps.

    I resolve that by dynamiclly change culture when writing the file. Now everything works fine !!!

  • HI Eric,

    We might start working on a system that is based on OpenXML to generate insurance documents like your scenario 2. The system will be hosted on the cloud. The user can upload the document templates and data to the cloud to assemble the complex insurance documents.

    Like the 'wildest' case, we found that the OpenXML and its SDK provides all of capability to create Docx but often a solution does not end up with a Docx document. We also need the ability to easily convert Docx to PDF from a server perspective.

    Thank you very much for teaching us the Open XML!

  • My company Active Interface is building cloud services for generating PowerPoint reports (and perhaps Word). Our current solutions use COM automation. We are designing our new system based upon OpenXML.

    I am looking for a developer/consultant to assist. Any PresentationML experts here feel free to contact me.

  • Yes, in particular expanding upon the Validation theme:  upon read/write/delete actions, reading some Document Properties and Content Controls, and file checksum, comparing against an external data source, before allowing an action.

  • Our company, Assette, offers a  cloud-based reporting solution for asset managers and investment advisers.  We have had a PPT based solution since ~2005, and now in the process of moving to PPTX using OpenXML.  Any development help, especially developing with Azure AppFabric will be much appreciated.  Likewise, we would be happy to help/participate in any initiative to further PresentationML knowledge and best practices across the Open XML development community.”

    I've started looking in to PresentationML, and your screen casts and I've gained some knowledge on OpenXml.  we do extensive table processing, custom pagination of tables, cloning slides, creating shapes via a custom PowerPoint Addin, and merging, manipulating table cells for formatting. i would really appreciate any help or references on these.



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