Open Source ZX Spreadsheet Offers Direct Functionality in Browsers

Potix Corporation, creator and chief commercial supporter of the open-source ZK framework, this week released a new version of its open-source spreadsheet component that is embeddable in existing Java Web applications. The Ajax-based component is designed to provide Excel functionality within browsers using pure Java without the need to install Excel or applets on the server or client.

ZK Spreadsheet 3.0.1 comes with a number of bug fixes and an overhauled API "for simpler usability to perform common user actions," the company says. ZK created the first embeddable Ajax spreadsheet component in 2008 to enable the rapid development and extensive control of large data driven applications.

The latest version of the spreadsheet solution adds the "LEFTB" and "REPLACEB" support functions. LEFTB returns the first character/characters in a text string, based on the number of bytes specified; REPLACEB replaces part of a text with another text, depending on the number of bytes specified. Also on the list of new support functions in this release: "Retry Incorrect Formula" (pops up a warning message when an incorrect formula is entered), and "Scroll the Screen Automatically When Selecting in Keyboard." And this version runs on Internet Explorer 11.

The ZK Framework is an open-source Ajax framework hosted on SourceForge and written in Java. The company calls it an "Ajax-plus-mobile framework," because of its support for Java Mobile, Android, and various mobile browsers. The core of the framework is an Ajax-based event-driven mechanism, XUL and XHTML-based components, and a markup language for designing UIs. The framework complies with JSP, JSF, Portlet, and Java EE technologies, and it can be integrated with existing enterprise environments and Java IDEs.

XUL (pronounced "ZUL," and sometimes written that way) is the XML User Interface markup language that was developed by the Mozilla project. It uses an open source implementation of the Mozilla Gecko layout engine, tri-licensed under the GPL, LGPL, and MPL.

ZK-based apps can be built using pure Java, markup languages, and/or scripting languages. The company says it provides developers with "a true event-driven model facilitating simple and transparent development of rich internet applications using pure Java."

The current release of the ZK Spreadsheet component is available now under an open-source license.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].