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Subject: Namespaces for Sheets

Dear TC members,

I would like to extend the proposal for "Storing sheet-local named 
expressions in ODF", see:
http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/office/200608/msg00001.html and

David Wheeler's proposal contains many important reasons, why 
expressions local to a sheet are important. Similarly, I propose to 
extend this concept in the form of "C++"-type namespaces for named ranges.

Complex spreadsheets are very error prone. Using named-ranges structures 
the spreadsheet somewhat. Unfortunately, names become messy when one has 
to use more than a dozen, greatly limiting the usefulness of names. 
Additionally, in most programs, the names that are defined in any sheet 
are mixed together in a single list. This leads easily to misidentifying 
names and generates a lot of errors (and also makes searching for an 
error or 'correcting a range'/'editing a name' more complex than it 
should be). Limiting name-scope to a spreadsheet (for explicitly locally 
declared names) would greatly simplify working with complex spreadsheets.

Many named-ranges from different sheets contain actually  identical 
data, so that identical names are warranted. More complex names 
(containing sheet-identifiers) are ugly and also easily generate errors 
(when copying cells from one sheet to the next).

It should be possible to limit names for local-use or declare them 
(explicitly) as global. Local names could be used in other sheets 
through <namespace/aka sheet-name>!'name', while globally declared names 
would be accessed within all sheets of the spreadsheet simply by their 
name (aka 'name'). Also, the names would be grouped per sheet (in the 
dialog displaying the named-ranges), so that one can easily find what 
names were declared in which sheet.

*Namespaces* are one of the most important improvements of C++ over C, 
and considering that spreadsheets are actually the most widely used 
programming environment, it seems very strange that  such an important 
concept does not get addressed.

I have filed last year this same proposal as a feature request on the 
OOo-site, see:
http://www.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=66886 for a more 
extensive discussion of this issue.

I hope that the spreadsheet application and the respective 
ODF-specification begin implementing programmer-proven mechanisms to 
reduce error rates, namespaces being one of  the many possible 
improvements (strong typing being another one, as I already posted in a 
previous message).

Many thanks,

Leonard Mada

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