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Subject: Re: [office-formula] Semantics

This was stated:
>> why not make it so that text constants can get
>> auto-converted to numbers using only the english locale ?

A politically correct way of saying this is the "C" locale,
if you wanted to do this.  The C locale uses "." as the
decimal separator.

There are pros and cons to doing this,
but I'm delighted to see this dicussion winnow out the pros and
cons.  I see the semantics issues as one of the harder areas to
gain agreement on, so having this discussion now (so it can get
worked out long before the deadline) seems like a good idea.

Yet another alternative is to try to accept both "," and "." as
decimal points.  That risks ambiguity unless you FORBID
thousands separators, and I don't think anyone DOES it
(suggesting it's not actually that useful).  I don't actually think
that'd be a good idea, but it's worth mentioning for completeness.

> >  How do you make that locale independent?
> > We will have similar problems with dates.

Not necessarily; you can declare than YYYY-MM-DD is always
ISO 8601 format.  Many spreadsheet implementations already
accept this (e.g., OOo2 and Excel already do).  A _vast_ amount
of the world uses ISO 8601, even those who you might not think
would do so.

For those who use other calendars, a standard prefix can
be used; I believe that's also common for those who use other
calendars.  Having the "unprefixed" calendar be an ISO standard
should be easy to justify.

--- David A. Wheeler

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