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Chapter 4. Get Data from the Web

Chapter 4. Get Data from the Web

Today it is hard to remember a time when the Web didn't matter, but it wasn't that long ago that it didn't even exist. Because Excel was created long before the Web, it has adapted as the Web evolved. There are now three main approaches to retrieving data from the Web:

  • Web queries retrieve data directly from a web page and import that data into a query table on an Excel spreadsheet. Although this was one of the first web access features added to Excel (introduced in 1997), it is still very useful.

  • Web services execute applications remotely over the Web to return results in XML format. The number of services available over the web is growing quickly as this standard is becoming broadly adopted. Web services provide a standardized way of exchanging parameters and retrieving results over the Web—something that is missing from web queries.

  • Database access over the web is now available through most database software. This technique depends on the database provider and is not covered here.

This chapter describes how to use web queries and web services to retrieve data from the Web and import it into Excel. The samples in this chapter demonstrate a variety of programming tasks with these two approaches, including:

  • Passing parameters

  • Formatting results

  • Getting data asynchronously

  • Displaying results through XML Maps


Code used in this chapter and additional samples are available in ch04.xls.

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