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Re: XLS woes

On Sat, May 26, 2012 at 12:56 PM, Jeff Kowalczyk <..hidden..> wrote:
> Chris Travers <chris.travers@...> writes:
>> I have found that I am unable to open the XLS documents generated by
>> LedgerSMB.  I have endeavored to fix this in the current framework to
>> no avail.  I think the best course of action is to drop XLS as a
>> supported format and look for a replacement that Excel users can use.
> XLS is (slowly) becoming less important as XLSX becomes more prominent. Since
> the  file formats are completely different (XLSX is XML plus resources,
> zipped), the libraries to generate XLSX are typically new implementations,
> and the reliability  might well be better.

Additionally XLSX is documented in ECMA standards which presumably
makes problems loading valid files the problem of Office.  Whether or
not that works though in practice is another matter.
> While I prefer to offer Excel users CSV with no formatting, there is business
> value in being able to prepare an Excel Template with headers, formulas, logos,
> etc. into which dynamic data can be inserted. This is capability particularly
> would useful when developing output customization for LedgerSMB, I would think.

We currently offer CSV and ODS.  ODS offers more complete spreadsheet
capabilities than does CSV.   There are some features not supported by
Excel (see http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint-online-small-business-help/differences-between-the-opendocument-spreadsheet-ods-format-and-the-excel-web-app-xlsx-format-HA102253037.aspx).
 So maybe XLSX would be a good thing long-term.  However I am not sure
we need to rush it for the next release.  ODS may be good enough for
many spreadsheet applications for Excel users.
> If XLSX templates are in scope for the parts of LedgerSMB that previously
> supported XLS, then I'd suggest a transition to supporting only the newer
> format if possible.
Ok, think this should go on "long-term" for now and remove from a goal
of 1.4 though.  Basically I will have to write a new template engine
for XLSX and, when I do that, will probably base it on the current ODS
engine rather than the current XLS engine.

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers