The positive feedback on the original Windows Forms XLStylesTool has been poring in from all over the world: US, Canada, UK, Australia, Thailand, Amman (Jordan), India and even Gibraltar! It definitely makes me want to do more for the users. I had a dream to build browser based app for a couple months and it is finally here.
UPDATE [4/28/12]: Silverlight version of the XLStylesTool has been upgraded to Silverlight 5 and moved to Windows Azure: Silverlight 5 XLStylesTool on Windows Azure. See this new blog post where I go over changes.
Advantages of the web browser based version that are obvious (and not so obvious):
- This XLStylesTool version is delivered in your favorite web browser (I tried IE8, IE9, FireFox and Chrome). You are guaranteed to get the latest cleanup algorithm on each use. I periodically optimize application code based on user feedback and the latest technology updates. If you have WinForms app you’ll have to check this site for upgrades on your own.
- Because it is Silverlight app all processing is happening on your machine. The file that you select for analysis and fixing never leaves your PC and as a result the processing time is identical to the original WinForms version. Try it: load the app in the browser, then pull out network cable or turn off Wi-Fi. This app will continue working for as long as you keep the browser window open.
- All you need to run the app is Silverlight browser plug-in from Microsoft. Chances are you already have it and if you don’t you will be prompted to download it (file size is less than 6MB) and it will install in seconds.
- Finally Mac users should be able to run the application. I got couple users from the Mac owner community that had to depend on their friends with PCs. Not anymore.
- I simplified user interface in this iteration. This version is more explicit about restriciting processing to just *.xlsx or *.xlsm files and will warn you if you choose any other unsupported file format (e.g., *.xls or *.xlsb) by accident. Also, you will get the most stable version of the file with user feedback generated options already preset for you in the app code. Just drag your Excel file onto the form, hit ‘Process File’ button, watch file properties notification area show the results of the cleanup and choose where to save the fixed file. That is it. You can overwrite the same file you selected for scanning. Make sure you save *.xlsx with *.xlsx extension and *.xlsm with *.xlsm if you do “save as” with new file name or you won’t be able to open the file until you change the file extention to match the file contents.
NOTE: couple IE users reported that sometimes link above returns an error. Close the browser (don’t hit refresh button; it won’t help) and next new session will work fine. The hosting site does something with cookies that don’t refresh right in IE once per day. I’m checking other hosting options. Any advice in this area is appreciated.
*Special thanks go to Mike Krueger and David Pierson for developing Silverlight 4 port of critical for this application .Net libraries. Your work shows that the internet through knowledge sharing makes the world so much better to live, work and play in.