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Subject: [OASIS Issue Tracker] Commented: (OFFICE-2329) Consistentdefinition of "empty cell"

    [ http://tools.oasis-open.org/issues/browse/OFFICE-2329?page=com.atlassian.jira.plugin.system.issuetabpanels:comment-tabpanel&focusedCommentId=17549#action_17549 ] 

Andreas Guelzow  commented on OFFICE-2329:

We should not mention COUNTBLANK in the definition of empty cell. In the definition of ISBLANK we should say that it returns true if the cell is _empty_. It is really determining whether a function is empty. 

COUNTBLANK counts blank ccells and some applications (Gnumeric, and I believe Excel) consider cells that contain an empty string to be blank while others (OOo Calc) consider such a cell not blank  

Whetehr a function returns 0 or the empty string depends on teh return type, or do I misunderstand that question?

> Consistent definition of "empty cell"
> -------------------------------------
>                 Key: OFFICE-2329
>                 URL: http://tools.oasis-open.org/issues/browse/OFFICE-2329
>             Project: OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) TC
>          Issue Type: Bug
>          Components: OpenFormula
>    Affects Versions: ODF 1.2 Part 2 CD 1
>            Reporter: Patrick Durusau
>            Priority: Blocker
> In the reference paragraph (final paragraph of 3.1 in the current public version we say:
> " An empty cell is neither zero nor the empty string, and an empty cell can be distinguished from cells containing values (including zero and the empty string) by some functions (such as ISBLANK and COUNTBLANK).  An empty cell is not the same as an Error, in particular, it is distinguishable from the Error #N/A (not available).  As discussed below, in many scalar contexts a reference to an empty cell is converted into 0 or the empty string, and in most sequences empty cells are automatically omitted.  If the outermost expression is a reference to an empty cell, it shall be converted to the number 0."
> But, if we look at COUNTBLANK we find:
> " A cell is blank if the cell is empty for purposes of COUNTBLANK. If ISBLANK(R) is true, then it is blank. A cell with numeric value zero ('0') is not blank. It is implementation-defined whether or not a cell returning the empty string ("") is considered blank; because of this, there is a (potential) subtle difference between COUNTBLANK and ISBLANK."
> And if we look at ISBLANK we find:
> "If X is a reference to a cell, examine the cell; if it is blank (has no value), return TRUE, but if it has a value, return FALSE. A cell with the empty string is not considered blank."
> We need a consistent definition of empty cell that can be defined once. Across all functions that may encounter an empty cell. 
> It isn't clear why there is a special rule for the "outermost" expression, assuming that's meaningful, in the last sentence. 
> Question: Do we define for scalar functions whether they return 0 or the empty string? 

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