Excel Import into R without rJava

In my ongoing quest to webappify various R scripts I discovered that rApache cannot load any R packages that depend on rJava.  For several of the scripts that I've written that grab data out of MS Excel files, and therein use the xlsx package, this is a serious brick wall.

In my current workaround, I've resorted to using a shell script to do the xls(x) to .RData conversion.  Then I stumbled upon the gdata package.  Buried deep deep deep within the documentation it is a function called


that relies on Perl rather than Java to do the heavy lifting of crawling both of Microsoft's proprietary binary and xml based formats.

Testing is currently underway and a comparative write-up is planned.