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Give Roadmap for App for Office JavaScript API

I would be very interested to understand where you are going with the JavaScript API. I think it is a very good venue. However, it still is very rudimentary compared to the traditional C# or VBA API’s. There are still fundamental lacks (talking about Excel) such as:
- Get address of bindings (e.g. info compared to =cell() function)
- Get cell formula instead of value from a given matrix binding
- Trigger range based recalculations
- Evaluate function for computing a formula
- Get more context (User context) e.g. for accessing external data (>> rights and roles management)
- And so on…
All the above should be almost trivial for Microsoft to implement – it would make a tremendous difference.
One word about event handling
You have implemented a very nice changed event handler for matrix and table bindings, however:
It is rather useless for larger ranges or tables. When I am notified that something in a large table has changed without more details which part (cell) has changed – I can’t use it.
So my suggestion would be give a roadmap and your strategic plans for this API and where you see it being used. It is a very nice API if you will expand it. Otherwise, it is too restricted for larger scale apps.

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9 comments

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  • Michał commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I think it would be very nice to see estimated time of completion of request marked as Started or higher. At least the accuracy of the quarter is needed to assess if it would be usable in currently developed project.

  • Peter Lindlau commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    You have now introduced a new API path, which is dedicated to the actual Office product (Shared vs Host-API). In your documentation, your are saying that the Host-API is the one for the future: “This model represents the future of Office JavaScript APIs”. In the host API for Excel, however, I have not yet seen any event support (cell/range/table changes, etc.)
    Can you confirm, whether you will move/add event support in the host-based API?
    Otherwise a developer would have to deal with two API flavors…

    By the way: The information, that you will introduce a host based API, would have been a good answer to this thread

  • David Greenwood commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hi JT,

    This request has been sitting here now for over 3 months and has 20 votes!

    A helpful roadmap would include a list of all the features in say the Excel Desktop version with an estimated Qtr/Year that they are scheduled, a brief one line description about the capability or if they are not scheduled or will be deprecated.

    Of particular interest to us is the delivery of key functions that are missing in Excel Online eg. support for UDF's, a real VBA alternative, formatting, etc. that seem to have no timeline or insight available as to when or how these gaps may be resolved.

    Does this response address your "Needs more information" request? Please advise as to additional requirements and what your plans and timings are in terms of producing a Roadmap.

  • Peter Lindlau commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I have had a brief look at the ‘Ewa’ JS namespace provided for Office Apps in Sharepoint. It seems that you already provide a lot of the requested functionality there. Why don’t you provide that same functionality directly in Office/Excel 2013?

  • Peter Lindlau commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Thank you JT.
    I don’t have a particular way in mind, how you could present your road-map. I am just very interested in this API, since it could open a complete new venue for developing / providing solutions. If it was more comprehensive, it could be used to develop real Enterprise type Apps (I am mentioning this, as we are currently developing Solutions in the Industrie 4.0 context as part of a project that is publicly funded by the Government of Germany).
    Therefore, my main interest is to understand whether this API has a strategic focus within Microsoft and whether you are willing to add substantial enhancements as mentioned in many of the ideas and comments.
    Thanks - Peter

  • Scott Harrison commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    If and when your team plans to add user defined functions to the Office Javascript API is critical to my team's decision to spend resources building an Office App. I would like clarity when this functionality will be available and the details on how it would work.

  • Scott Harrison commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I totally agree with this. It is difficult to expend resources on an Office App project without knowing where the api is headed.

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