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Subject: Re: [office-formula] Proposal: Drop "huge" group; any critically missingfunctions for "large"?

Robert Weir said:
> A super set of Excel and OpenOffice 2.0x [for the
> "large" group] is fine for me.

Good.  And as my previous email noted, that is
NOT the end.  Gnumeric and Quattro Pro have some excellent
functionality, and KSpread has some very innovative function ideas.
I'd like to include a _few_ of them in the large group, so that
their users can (1) easily transition to this format and (2) easily
exchange their documents with other applications.

But identifying functions is a never-ending process, and
I'd like to have some group that we can release as a "version 1.0".
I think that's a reasonable place to aim for this version.
Version 1.1 should tackle the differences between typical
"large" applications (Excel, OpenOffice.org) and the
"huge" ones (Gnumeric, Quattro Pro).

>  A clarification though -- are the Excel functions included in
> "large" jut the core Excel ones, or do they also include the
> ones only available if you load the data analysis add-in?

I believe they include nearly all add-ins, including the
data analysis and engineering add-ins.  There are questions
about a few functions, e.g., the "SQL.*" functions; see the
spec's section on the "large" group, where that's discussed further.
A few functions are listed as questionable, e.g., can DDE
be rationally exchanged?!?

> Also, has anyone looked at Excel 2007 beta to see if
> the function set has been extended? 

Yes, and that information is in the draft spec as a note
(also in the "large group" section). The "Notes" won't
be printed in the final spec, but they help us work together.
I currently plan to make them hidden text for the final version.

Excel 2007 actually doesn't add much, according to
the information I have.  They now allow more rows
and columns, but our format allows arbitrary numbers of
rows/columns, so that's not a problem for our format.
They've "added" a bunch of functions, but when you investigate,
it turns out that most were there before as add-ins
(e.g., the poorly-designed BIN2DEC).  There are a
few new functions, not many (the "cube" functions).
I don't have detailed info on their semantics, and there
is the risk that their semantics will change before shipping anyway.
And remember, we're exchanging _documents_;
no current documents use those new functions.
When they do, they can be represented in this version of
the format as COM.MICROSOFT.FOO.
My goal is to allow users to move data between applications freely,
choose whichever application they prefer, and switch
from using one application to another seamlessly - without lock-in.

--- David A. Wheeler

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