I'm not sure what Michael Robertson is up to but each new web app he launches on his ajaxLaunch site is less impressive than the last. The latest, ajaxXLS is a spreadsheet "viewer" so rough around the edges that it's essentially useless. ajaxWrite was OK - no Writely or Zoho Writer but a nice enough proof of concept. ajaxSketch was a more questionable offering, missing essential diagramming or drawing tools and hampered by a primitive user interface. This latest application should never have been released in its current form.
I opened the simplest of Excel files - just text in cells - and ajaxXLS managed to mangle the very simple formatting, running text in one cell over it neighbor and providing no visible way to correct the bad formatting. A more complex invoice sheet (complex is relative - this sheet uses addition and multiplication) seemed to calculate properly but was extremely unattractive and just as difficult to reformat. The site states:
On this first release of the ajaxXLS viewer, you can expect to open spreadsheet files with all your common cell formatting categories such as text style, decimals, currencies, date, and time. ajaxXLS will preserve your formulas, backgrounds and borders from the files created in Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice. ajaxXLS is platform independent and can be used with any operating system.
It may be platform independent but it wants you to use only Firefox 1.5 and it fails to deliver on even these modest goals. Sorry - but I just don't see the point of rushing these apps out just to meet an arbitrary weekly schedule. If the soup's not cooked, don't serve it.