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Subject: Re: [office] YEARFRAC, etc.

Patrick Durusau <patrick@durusau.net> wrote on 04/14/2008 04:53:55 PM:

> Rob,
> OK but if I understand David Wheeler's point, it is the case that no one
> has reverse engineered the proper definition for YEARFRAC.
> So, having "spotted the problem," have you suggested a solution?

Microsoft should document what Excel does when it calculates YEARFRAC and it should do it completely and unambiguously.

> Yes, a lot of other people have failed to come up with the solution, so
> how does that observation help? None of those reporting the problem have
> offered a solution either.

See above.  The solution is for OOXML to document Excel's behavior. That is the purpose of OOXML after all, as stated in their scope clause.  Since Excel is a proprietary, closed-source vendor product, no one but Microsoft can peer inside to answer this question.

In any case, by raising the issue to your attention I'm hoping maybe that you can use some of your contacts to get an answer we can use.  You are our SC34 liaison, right?  I'd rather not wait until October for SC34 to figure out how they want to do maintenance.  Perhaps you can enter a defect report to SC34 on this question, give Murata-san's new ad-hoc something concrete to work with.  If it will help, I can draft the defect report, we can approve it at a future TC call, and you can get it off to SC34 as soon as the official final text of OOXML is released.

> Here is how to move off dead center:
> 1) Agree that YEARFRAC has not been fully/properly/etc. defined
> 2) Agree that both ODF and OOXML need to have the same "proper"
> definition of YEARFRAC
> 3) Either derive one ourselves or in concert with others who are
> concerned about the same issue (others being a reference to OOXML)
> 4) See that both we and anyone else with a formula standard uses the
> result of #3.
> Granted that doesn't provide many opportunities for clever remarks but
> none of that is going to be found in ODF 1.2.
> Hopefully a good definition of YEARFRAC will be.
> Hope you are having a great day!
> Patrick
> robert_weir@us.ibm.com wrote:
> >
> > Keep in mind the history of these date basis definitions in OOXML.
> >
> > I first reported the problem on July 9th, 2007.  This became part of
> > the comments the US submitted along with our ballot response in Sept.
> >
> > Ecma, in their response to the ballot comments failed to fix the
> > problem.  They botched the definitions.
> >
> > The DIS 29500 BRM in Geneva, failed to fix the definitions.  For lack
> > of time the BRM decided to accept Ecma's defective text changes.
> >
> > So what we end up with now, went 100% through the Ecma, JTC1 and SC34
> > processes.  No one along the way has managed to correct these errors.
> >
> > These errors have already been reported, botched and approved any
> > ways.  I'm not sure repetition of the same process by the same people
> > is necessarily going to lead to great improvements.
> >
> > In any case, from the ODF 1.2 perspective, I think we have no choice
> > but to ignore OOXML's definitions and try to reverse engineer
> > Microsoft Excel.  It could be a good marketing statement -- OOXML may
> > be better at calculating wrong leap years and incorrect footnote
> > placement like Word 95 did, but only ODF defines financial spreadsheet
> > functions in a way which is compatible with current and legacy
> > versions of Microsoft Excel.
> >
> >
> > -Rob
> >
> --
> Patrick Durusau
> patrick@durusau.net
> Chair, V1 - US TAG to JTC 1/SC 34
> Convener, JTC 1/SC 34/WG 3 (Topic Maps)
> Editor, OpenDocument Format TC (OASIS), Project Editor ISO/IEC 26300
> Co-Editor, ISO/IEC 13250-1, 13250-5 (Topic Maps)

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