"Simple" is a relative term: if you don't want to use Jakarta POI, or a commercial Java-COM bridge (like JIntegra for example) then you are left with JNI. Since both POI and JIntegra are built with JNI, it would make sense to use one of them. Writing this from the ground up feels like a big job.
(BTW: Cross posting is not a good thing to do. Pick which thread you want to follow this in, as I'm sure the moderators will close one as soon as they notice) [ January 13, 2005: Message edited by: Paul Sturrock ]