OpenXML Mode in Peoplesoft nVision Looks Hard, but it Isn't!

August 24, 2020 | 2 minute read
Rakhi Narayanan
Project Lead
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You Should use Open XML Mode in nVision

I have been working with nVision customers for nearly 5 years. The main problem most of our customers face is with performance in the Excel Automation mode of nVision .

During support calls, we advise them to move to the Open XML mode of nVision. Unfortunately, many of our customers are still in Excel Automation mode. I think one of the reasons people have been slow to adopt this is because of the ease they got from using the legacy system. Customers who have moved to Open XML, however, are happy with its performance and parallel processing.

Why Do We Recommend Open XML?

Open XML is an open and standardized format for Office files. The standards used are:

These standards define the structure and the elements for the Office files. The Office files (like xlsx for Excel) themselves are zipped files that contain a specific directory and file structure. The files that hold the content of a spreadsheet are xml files like any other xml files. 

For example, if you have any Excel files ( “test.xlsx” file), it will be a zip file and if you extract the excel file like any other zip file, it  will contain the following files:

  • /[Content_Types].xml: Defines parts and extensions for the spreadsheet 
  • /xl/workbook.xml: sheets that are included in the workbook 
  • /xl/styles.xml: Styles used in the worksheets 
  • /xl/sharedStrings.xml: Strings that are shared among cells 
  • /xl/worksheets/sheet1.xml...: The actual worksheets 

From  Peopletools 8.54 onward, OpenXML mode is the default mode in Peoplesoft nVision. On the Web version, the OpenXML, Excel Automation, and Cross-Platform modes are mutually exclusive. Only one mode is in effect at any given time.

Based on numerous customer stories and internal testing we are recommending open XML mode in nVision. Open XML mode is well tested and works in Peoplesoft Cloud Environments . Here are the benefits that make open XML mode the way to go:

 1. Open XML is light weight so report processing is faster.

This will be evident if you run large reports. The reports that may take 8 to 10 minutes in Excel Automation Mode, will take only 2 to 3 minutes in open XML mode.

2. Works well when running concurrent reports.

If reports are run in batch, Excel automation mode will run the report one by one.  Meaning the second process will start only when the first one gets completed. This is because only one Excel.exe will spawn at a time, whereas in open XML mode multiple reports can be run concurrently.

3. Microsoft Excel need not be installed in the server(other than in two scenarios)

If you are using Open XML mode, you need not install Excel when you are not using macro-based layouts (Running macro based layouts ) and layouts that contain formulas in criteria.

OpenXML lacks a calculation engine so it cannot support Macros. However, our Hybrid solution solved this problem by running Macros from Excel.

4. It is an open standard and Microsoft's recommended format.

So it is always recommended to use open XML mode for your nVision reports.




Rakhi Narayanan

Project Lead

Project Lead,PeopleTools Development

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