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'''JExcelAPI''' (Java-based and therefore platform-independent) is proven technology but switching between reading and writing is quite involved and memory-hungry when processing large spreadsheets. As the docs state, JExcelAPI is optimized for reading and it does do that well - but still slower than Excel/COM. The fact that upon a switch from reading to writing the existing spreadsheet is overwritten in place by a blank one and that you can only get the contents back wen writing out all of the changes is worrying - and any change after the first write() is lost as a next write() doesn't seem to work, worse yet, you may completely loose the spreadsheet in question. The first is by JExcelAPI design, the second is probably a bug (in Octave Forge/Java or JExcelAPI ? I don't know). Adding data to existing spreadsheets does work, but IMO undue user confidence is needed. JExcelAPI supports BIFF5 (only reading) and BIFF8 (Excel 95 and Excel 97-2003, respectively). Upon overwriting, BIFF5 spreadsheets are converted silently to BIFF8. JexcelAPI, unlike ApachePOI, doesn't evaluate functions while reading but instead relies on cached results (i.e. results computed by Excel itself). Depending on Excel settings ("Automatic calculation" ON or OFF) this may or may not yield incorrect (or expected) results.
 
'''JExcelAPI''' (Java-based and therefore platform-independent) is proven technology but switching between reading and writing is quite involved and memory-hungry when processing large spreadsheets. As the docs state, JExcelAPI is optimized for reading and it does do that well - but still slower than Excel/COM. The fact that upon a switch from reading to writing the existing spreadsheet is overwritten in place by a blank one and that you can only get the contents back wen writing out all of the changes is worrying - and any change after the first write() is lost as a next write() doesn't seem to work, worse yet, you may completely loose the spreadsheet in question. The first is by JExcelAPI design, the second is probably a bug (in Octave Forge/Java or JExcelAPI ? I don't know). Adding data to existing spreadsheets does work, but IMO undue user confidence is needed. JExcelAPI supports BIFF5 (only reading) and BIFF8 (Excel 95 and Excel 97-2003, respectively). Upon overwriting, BIFF5 spreadsheets are converted silently to BIFF8. JexcelAPI, unlike ApachePOI, doesn't evaluate functions while reading but instead relies on cached results (i.e. results computed by Excel itself). Depending on Excel settings ("Automatic calculation" ON or OFF) this may or may not yield incorrect (or expected) results.
  
'''Apache POI''' (Java-based and platform-independent too) is based on the OpenOffice.org I/O Excel r/w routines. It is a more versatile than JExcelAPI, while it doesn't support BIFF5 it does support BIFF8 (Excel 97 – 2003) and OOXML (Excel 2007). It is slower than native JXL let alone Excel & COM but it features active formula evaluation, although at the moment (v. 3.8) not all Excel functions have been implemented. Obviously, as new functions are added in every new Excel release it's hard to catch up for Apache POI. I've made the relevant subfunction (xls2jpoi2oct) fall back to cached formula results (and yield a suitable warning) for non-implemented Excel functions while reading Excel files.
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'''Apache POI''' (Java-based and platform-independent too) is based on the OpenOffice.org I/O Excel r/w routines. It is a more versatile than JExcelAPI, while it doesn't support BIFF5 it does support BIFF8 (Excel 97 – 2003) and OOXML (Excel 2007). It is slower than native JXL let alone Excel & COM but it features active formula evaluation, although at the moment (v. 3.7) not all Excel functions have been implemented. I've made the relevant subfunction (xls2jpoi2oct) fall back to cached formula results (and yield a suitable warning) for non-implemented Excel functions while reading Excel files.
  
 
'''OpenXLS''' (an open source version of Extentech's commercial Java-xls product) is still experimental. It seems to work faster than JExcelAPI, but it has other issues - i.e., it locks the .xls file and the unlocking mechanism is a bit wonky. Sometimes xls files keep being locked until Octave is shut down. Currently OXS write support is disabled (but the code is there).
 
'''OpenXLS''' (an open source version of Extentech's commercial Java-xls product) is still experimental. It seems to work faster than JExcelAPI, but it has other issues - i.e., it locks the .xls file and the unlocking mechanism is a bit wonky. Sometimes xls files keep being locked until Octave is shut down. Currently OXS write support is disabled (but the code is there).

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