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Subject: Re: [office-formula] Request for Introductions - Please, introduce yourselfto us!

I'm Rob Weir.   I live/work in Westford, Massachusetts, which is an hour north and west of Boston.  

Harvard College, '91,  Astronomy and Astrophysics, with emphasis on scientific computing.  Joined Lotus Development Corporation in 1991 and have been here ever since.  Of course, we merged into IBM in 1995, but the group I'm with still has an emphasis on end-user productivity tools, as well as Portals and Workplaces.  My wife works for IBM, my father worked for IBM 30 years before retirement, and my uncle still works for IBM.  So, it is something of the family business <g>.

Obviously, from a corporate perspective we have a long history of spreadsheet implementations, from 1-2-3, to Improv to Workplace, and all the little things in between, like Lotus Symphony, Lotus Works, Lotus Components, eSuite and Portal Productivity Editors.   On the implementation side I've worked on a little of everything over the years.  Most recently in this domain, I've lead a number of file conversion efforts over the years, including converting between 1-2-3, Excel, HTML and XML, and similar conversions between Word/Wordpro/XML and Powerpoint/Freelance Graphics/XML.

My main interest in formulas is to see this hole in the specification filled.  It is not too much of an exaggeration to say that a modern spreadsheet is just eye candy on top of formulas.  If you don't have the formulas specified, then you have not specified the most important part of the spreadsheet.

Goals for the formulas language?  I want a good spec, in terms of solid, testable, normative statements, and a good review to identify and remedy ambiguities.  Knowing that a flaw in a specification, or even an implementation, can have long-lasting impact for decades and complicate future work done by children yet unborn (just think of the legacy 1900 leap year bug in current spreadsheets), I'm more inclined toward a formula language that is clean, pure and elegant, than one which captures every wrinkle and wart of existing implementations.  In my mind, the up-front cost of converting to something clean will pay for itself in years ease of maintenance and simplified future app development.

Also, I'd like to keep us mindful of programs smaller than a full spreadsheet editor.  200,000 lines of C++ code running on a  1.4Ghz processor can handle whatever you throw at it.  But I'd like to keep in mind things like PDA's, cellphones, web services, wiki's, etc., which may not have these resources available.  


"David A. Wheeler" <dwheeler@dwheeler.com> wrote on 02/23/2006 06:47:06 PM:

> Could everyone on the office-formula mailing list introduce themselves
> to everyone else, by doing a "reply-all" to this email?  Don't introduce
> yourself just to ME... I'd like everyone to know a little about each other.
> I realize many of you know each other anyway, but not everyone does, and
> having it recorded in the OASIS archives will make it easy for
> people to find it later.
> Basically, tell us the name YOU would like to be called, your organization,
> a little about your interests in spreadsheet implementations, and why you're
> interested in a standard for formulas.  I'd especially like to know if
> there are any
> particular goals/aspirations you have for the resulting specification.
> If you have any relevant expertise (such as implementor, heavy user,
> strong mathematical expertise, legal knowledge, or standards/OASIS
> procedural knowledge), please let us know that too.  ODF members:
> if you also work with other organizations, feel free to let us know that.
> In PARTICULAR, if you are a developer of one or
> more spreadsheet implementations, or your organization develops
> one or more spreadsheet implementations, please let us
> know what they are.  NOTE: If you or your organization
> develops spreadsheets, saying so does NOT automatically
> commit your organization to a specification. Few people will
> commit to a specification that isn't done!   But it helps to know
> where people are coming from.
> We have a few "Observers".  According to OASIS rule 1n, observers can
> be subscribed to the email list but not "participate" in email list
> discussions.
> However, unless there's an objection, I'd like to hear self-introductions
> from even the observers (if they're willing). I don't view
> self-introductions
> as "participation", and it would help to know who everyone is.  If you
> are an observer but want to stay anonymous, that's fine.   If you want to do
> more than observe, please talk to me; my goal is MAXIMUM participation.
> Note: Per OASIS rule 2.4, membership is per person, not per organization,
> and is not transferable from person to person.  Also, 2.13 states
> "Organizations do not vote in TCs."  Thus, although many of us are
> from specific organizations, I expect that everyone will work TOGETHER
> to create the best possible specification for ALL... and not JUST for
> the organization they represent. Still, it's sometimes helpful to know
> "where people are coming from".
> Thanks very much!!
> --- David A. Wheeler

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