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office-formula message

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Subject: Re: [office-formula] Comments from Dan Bricklin

David A. Wheeler wrote:
We could have a "really low bar" (+ - * / SUM () as the minimum).  But how can we help users know if their spreadsheets will interchange between applications, without having to check with EVERY implementation, EVERY time?  No user wants to go into the applications testing budienss. There is an alternative in the standards world: Profiles.  These are the same, as far as I can tell, to the "packages" discussed earlier.

We COULD just define a large collection of operators and functions.  We could then predefine a set of "packages" that identify a set of REQUIRED functions or groups of functions (directly or via other packages).  That way, you can say "My spreadsheet file requires the financial and complex number packages", or whatever, and then you can see if YOUR implementation has those packages.  If it does, you're set.
That seems like a workable solution. It would be good if the file format can identify the packages required by the spreadsheet (a kind of early binding), allowing an implementation to preload the required packages (in the sense of add-ins of current implementations), or error saying that this spreadsheet requires package X that is not available.

Can we leave it to the vendors to include all the necessary packages required by their target audience?

The question as to whether we support two levels of semantic strictness still remains, but that is a discussion for another thread. However, I'm not sure the package approach lends itself to different levels of semantic strictness. Perhaps one of the implementors could give a view on this (even if you don't like levels of semantics).

--- Richard Kernick

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