Those who have been looking for new features in Microsoft Office 2013 have probably found the new Insert->Apps for Office button on the Ribbon. I have played around with these a little bit and have a few things to report.
In and of itself, this new feature maybe cool but not truly remarkable, what makes it remarkable, however, is ability now post this visualization as a part of the overall dashboard to SharePoint. SharePoint 2013 can now be configured to support applications so that if an end user embeds a gauge or a map in his or her Excel workbook, SharePoint will be able to render it in Excel Services just as a regular chart or control. I have actually been able to configure that feature in SharePoint 2013, post an Excel spreadsheet with a gauge in it and see it render as a web page – very impressive!
So far, I have played around with the Gauge, Heat Map and Bing map Apps for Office and for the most parts found them to be very promising. I am having a bit of an issue with stability as for some reason the Gauge control for example does not always “Start” when I try to insert it in my Excel worksheet. My gut feeling is that the issue is related to the way these Apps are linked to my Windows accounts, and I have several that I use for different purposes, so this is something I will be chasing down in the next few days.
This is a pretty promising new feature as it now allows us to extend the existing office functionality using a pretty standard set of web technologies. Please follow this link for additional information.