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Subject: Re: [office-formula] Whitespace fixups

Hi David,

On Wednesday, 2008-06-18 15:47:30 -0400, David A. Wheeler wrote:

> I said:
> > > I omitted the text afterwards, but what it said was that applications
> > > SHOULD retain the whitespace characters.  My thought is that
> > > if an application intends to write a line break, then it should write \n.
> > > But once it writes whatever whitespace it writes, other apps should
> > > retain it.
> Eike Rathke:
> > Which isn't always possible due to implementation details. For example,
> > Calc normally preserves spaces (no other whitespace characters yet) in
> > formulas, but for array constants they are only parsed away, internally
> > the array is stored as one matrix token and information about
> > interspersed whitespace characters is discarded. Due to internal
> > structures and memory considerations it is not intended to change that.
> > 
> > Implementations on hand-held devices may also prefer to not preserve
> > whitespace at all for similar reasons.
> Completely agreed, but I anticipated that by using the word "should".
> Does that cover it?

It should ;-)

> Or would it be better to add that
> "applications MAY remove or change whitespace outside of single or double quotes"?

Not sure, to me SHOULD usually means "you really should do that except
you're unable or there are very good reasons to not do it".
Implementation details of course are always good reasons ;) but as
whitespace is totally insignificant for calculated formulas (fine and
desired from the UI perspective, sure) we might have an exceptional
clause of "SHOULD preserve but MAY remove or change". Not being a native
English speaker that might as well be saying the same thing twice over
and unnecessary.


Automatic string conversions considered dangerous. They are the GOTO statements
of spreadsheets.  --Robert Weir on the OpenDocument formula subcommittee's list.

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