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StrikeIron's OnDemand Web Services

Good


• No need for coding, thanks to drag-and-drop Web services for Excel
• VisualBasic API for complex application creation
• Lengthy list of Web services

Bad


• Worksheets are only useful to others who have the plug-in
• Parameter configuration confusing for nontechnical users

StrikeIron OnDemand Web Services for Excel, $99.95 for an annual subscription; $299.95 for a perpetual license. StrikeIron, (919) 405-7010. www.strikeiron.com

I added a set of Web services from our NWC Inc. business applications lab by importing the WSDL, then added an e-mail validation service from StrikeIron. Once the Web services were in the worksheet, indicated by their appearance in the ODWS dialog box, I could configure each one separately by navigating through the tabbed configuration window.

To integrate a Web service into Excel, I navigated to the Set Input tab, found the appropriate Web service from the selections and dragged it into a cell on my spreadsheet. I then jumped to the Set Output tab and dragged the appropriate output to another cell in my spreadsheet. ODWS created headers for all data returned from the Web service, in this case an invoice from NWC Inc.'s database of widget orders. I then used the Web service by entering data into the input cell I had placed, specifically an order ID, and refreshed the data using the ODWS menu.

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