Up until recently, the cloudXLS website had a prominent line that said “User love Excel, programmers don’t.” That’s what Sebastian Burkhard, the self-appointed “Chief Excel Officer” of cloudXLS, says was the motivation behind this web-based service that lets you create sophisticated Excel files from your data. Sebastian Burkhard co-founded the Zurich, Switzerland-based FundExplorer GmbH five years ago as an information platform for ETFs. After three years and a few pivots, they ended up focusing on client work, many of whom asked for Excel data-exports and reports.
One of their clients was a Swiss bank, for whom they maintained a Rails app for calculating the performance metrics of the bank’s investment funds. As the data grew, the application started slowing down due to the sheer size of the data that needed to be processed.
Excel Exports Without the Hassle
Instead of scaling the application to handle the growing data, they set up an Excel report which contained all the formulas for the calculations and had written a script that updated the data daily on the servers. Since it was in Excel, the client himself was able to add smaller features such as metrics and charts to the spreadsheet.
The bank was happy because they were able to do more calculations faster and at a third of the cost of the original Rails application. Long story short, that led to cloudXLS, which gives users an API that converts CSV data files into xls or xlsx files, or merges data into existing xls or xlsx files making it easier to create sophisticated reports.
Programmers no longer need to worry or burn the midnight oil trying various hacks and workarounds to write files that open properly in Excel. For data (e.g. from the database) can now be sent directly (as CSV files) to the the cloudXLS API which can easily convert it and return the corresponding xls(x) file.
Creating Sophisticated Excel Reports is Now Easy
In order to create more complex spreadsheets with formulas, charts, macros, all you need to do is send an Excel template to the API and cloudXLS will copy the data into that file, updating formulas and leaving macros intact. For example, you could combine the data from a Google Analytics traffic report with subscriptions data on Stripe into an Excel template that uses them to come up with weekly performance metrics you need to see. Once you set up this system using the cloudXLS API, the data feeds can be used with as many other reports as you want.
“As a developer I like it that I don’t have to worry about Excel exports anymore. I just send my CSV files to cloudXLS, no fear, uncertainty and doubt,” says Sebastian. “It also opens up a lot of possibilities, instead of writing lots of dashboard reports, I can let my business managers do the reports themselves in Excel and I fill it up with data.”
cloudXLS is already in public beta for you to have a closer look at. For companies worried about sending sensitive data to a web-based application, they are now working on a server license under which customers will be able to run cloudXLS in their own isolated data center.