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Subject: RE: [office-comment] Filling numbers & dates

I think Eike is pointing out that SUM(...) does not alter its operands.  It
delivers a result to the formula and that may be further operated on in
producing something that is never placed in a cell directly (e.g., in the
condition in an IF(...), etc.). 

The objection is to an operation that works by side-effect in the guise of a
function.  There might be another way to accomplish that without creating
recalc nightmares and other frightful edge cases.  (Might depend on macros
or scripting, unfortunately.)

I thought there were some formula functions that could produce side-effects,
but I am hard-pressed to think of one off-hand.  Do you know of any (some
kind of "setters") that are already in the OpenFormula specification?

 - Dennis

-----Original Message-----
From: Leonard Mada [mailto:discoleo@gmx.net] 
Sent: Friday, October 31, 2008 11:15
To: office-comment@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: Re: [office-comment] Filling numbers & dates

Hello Eike,

Eike Rathke wrote:
> Hi Leonard,
> On Friday, 2008-10-31 01:15:08 +0200, Leonard Mada wrote:
>> This is a proposal to enhance ODF with a FILL() function. I planed to  
>> post it long ago, but never got the time for it.
>> [...]
>> Spreadsheets notably lack such a construct.
> For a very good reason: a function should never modify the content of
> spreadsheet cells.

How is this different from *EVERY* other function in a spreadsheet?

I did sought of many possible responses, but this one baffled me 
completely. Well, a function *WELL CHANGES* the content of the cell. 
Doesn't SUM() do the same? Or an IF(), or MMULT() or anything else?

So, how would the FILL() be different?
It would change exactly the contents of the cells as all the functions 
mentioned above.

Lets say the user writes in A1:
{ =REPEAT(1, 20) }

This would then populate A1:A20 with values of 1. A perfectly valid 
array formula.

I tested this in Calc:
{ =MMULT(A1:B20;D1:E2) }

And guess what? It did change cells D6:E25 (I entered the formula in 
D6). I could almost swear that any other formula does change the content 
of the cell.

Well, there may be a rationale behind such functions when more prominent 
languages (like S+, Mathematica and many other) have such functions and 



>   Eike

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