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Import functionality for files

Hi all,

    I want to know whether we can implement the Import functionality in Apex like Salseforce.com has
provided for importing data from xls files.

If yes what are the available ways to get local machine file contents  in Salesforce.com? Are there any  APIs
in Salesforce.com to read buffer data  from remote  client  or it uses HTTP to transfer data?

Any pointers in the regard will be helpful.

Thanks in advance.
One option is to read the xls file in your program (whether you are using VB or C#). Get the data, and create a new object from VB or C# into SF.