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Subject: Re: [office-formula] Syntax loose ends: inline error names,

Andreas J Guelzow:
> Maybe more first we should consider what is Sheet1.A1
> options:
> 1) cell A1 in table Sheet1
> 2) value of named range or expression called A1 in table Sheet1
> 3) value of named range or expression called Sheet1.A1 in current table
> oh boy

Cell references are surrounded by [...], which helps disambiguate.
If cell references and named expresssions have the same syntax, every
time you change the maximum number of columns you mess up
lots of data files.

Let's try to identify potential requirements for the syntax, that may help.
We need to be able to disambiguate between:
* Named expressions, which may be attached to a particular sheet (table) or not
* Cell references (okay, we handle that already with [], but let's note that), current
   sheet or a different sheet
* Both of the above MAY be in a different external spreadsheet.  Traditionally
   you can only reference named expresssions, but the syntax shouldn't be
   limited that way.
* In OpenDocument, tables may contain other tables.  Spreadsheet apps don't
   necessarily implement spreadsheet tables in tables, but they CAN, and the
   syntax should support it.
* Function calls, which may have 'structure'. (ORG.OPENOFFICE.ARABIC()).
* Able to expand to allow named expressions to serve as function calls (future).
* It should be a clean and easy syntax, one that's easy to read and parse.
   Preferably without a lot invention.  Often having an initial unique character
   makes parsing very easy.

We're very close to that entire list now; I think only a tweak is necessary to
get there.  But stepping back sometimes helps.
We handle nearly all that now; let's try to make sure that changes get there.

--- David A. Wheeler

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