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September 18, 2003

ExcelEverywhere Offers Eolas Free Solution

ExcelEverywhere is looking to get some profit out of the web nightmare surrounding Microsoft v Eolas. The specifically advertise –with Google Ads, so a search of eolas patents will bring up their ad– to solve the plug-in problem for developers and web masters who use the ActiveX Excel component to display Excel files on line. As they say on their page “instead_of_plugins.html”:

“ExcelEverywhere builds one single web page. All the calculations are done by JavaScript. No plug-in is required. The generated web page does not infringe, since the patent does not cover HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript/ECMAScript, the DOM, or other web standards [Zeldman].”

Personally I love the link to Jeffrey Zeldman in there, although the way it’s presented seems to me to imply Jeffrey is supporting or endorsing their service.

Not that it’s a bad service really, and you have to applaud their quick movement to capitalize on the situation. There are a lot of companies out there without web coders and designers to take care of this issue for them, but who need to plan and move their web applications to work in a non-plug-in environment. If they need online ROI calculators,or expense report applications and reports then this promises to replace those ActiveX Excel components. Problem–well part of it at least–solved.

They also nicely include a Google search link for Eolas and Patent on their page– the price for all this– $99 after a 30 day trial period. Of course to replace all of those ActiveX components, FrontPage authors, designers and part time designers are going to need a whole lot more of these Javascript solutions. Many of the ActiveX components will not be replaceable with Javascript solutions and will require a great deal of time converting the document to well formed html–well, many apps have built in HTML conversions but they are notoriously horrible, even by FrontPage standards–to load to a site.

So from every “crises” come opportunity, and boy is there going to be a ton of opportunity here (said with dripping wet sarcasm). Zeldman said it in his article on the 12th,

“If the patent ruling stands, it will hurt web users, site owners and designers, and software companies (possibly ruining some of those companies) and will chill web development in untold ways. We find ourselves in the unaccustomed position of rooting for Microsoft.”

I have also said much the same on August 30th, September 13th and just yesterday. As for ExcelEverywhere, I have no idea if their service is good or bad–they are just the first of what I figure will be many companies and services that are going to appear in the next weeks and months. Some will be great services at affordable prices, others, well…

Posted by Eric at September 18, 2003 10:36 PM | TrackBack
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