Separating win32com automation instances?

Patrick jp at
Sat Jul 10 21:18:33 CEST 2004

I am investigating a web-based app wherein I wanted to provide html
form frontends to an Excel spreadsheet sitting on a MS Windows server;
with each authenticated HTTP user having thier own "invisible" copy of
the spreadsheet changeable via form POST via COM automation object
(via Python) - then after recalculating - present the spreadsheet
results in HTML.  The whole idea to 1: isolate the user from having to
have Excel, and 2: avoiding rewriting the hundreds of Excel formulas
in a CGI.

HTML FORM -> POST -> Python win32com -> Spreadsheet -> Recalc -> HTML

Now the problem is that win32com.client.Dispatch apparently does not
play well with other Dispatch instances.

If I have two instances of Python running, and Dispatch two instances
of ("Excel.Application"), I find that when I close one workbook, they
are all closed.

Python instance 1 in DOS window 1:

from win32com.client import Dispatch
x1 = Dispatch("Excel.Application")"workbook1.xls")

Python instance 2 in DOS window 2:

from win32com.client import Dispatch
x2 = Dispatch("Excel.Application")"workbook2.xls")

Guess what?  Closing x2 also closes x1.

How do I get around this?  I'm running this test from two DOS prompts.
 Also any changes I make using x2 (like switching the sheet) appear in
the x1 instance.

Does DCOM resolve this; is this a failure with Excel; or is it how
win32com works; or is it just a COM problem?

 Patrick Price

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