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Generate Charts in Serverside Excel from ASP dynamically, advisable?

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Date: Thu, 08 Jul 2004 17:02:27 -0700
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I have a new approach to saving charts from server-side Excel when ASP
pages are processed. The charts show weather data that is updated every
15 minutes in a database, and instead of just automating the chart
production so that every chart is generated every 15 minutes, 24
hrs/day, it seems smarter to generate up to date charts when people want
to look at them. But I'm not sure if this is the best approach.

This is what I can do from an ASP page to dynamically chart data:
- run Excel on the server
- open a Worksheet that has a customized chart for a range of cells.
- insert new data in the charted range of cells (chart auto-updates).
- save the chart to a gif file.
- insert the gif into the html page viewed by the client.

Using this approach is convenient because I can customize charts to look
exactly as I want without having to find the documentation to automate
the chart formatting.

Is it possible to run Excel once on the server, and let all requests for
charts use this one running instance of Excel? The alternative is that
Excel will run once for each chart request, this seems like it could get
out of hand pretty quickly if a lot of people are trying to look at
charts at the same time.

Are there better ways to generate charts dynamically on the server? Any
suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks,
Mike

Jul 19 '05 #1
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