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Subject: Re: [office] A small step on "Empty Cell"

Hello Andreas,

allow me to rephrase your answer before I ask questions to make sure I understand:
  1. You say theÂuser semantic perspective an "empty cell" should be equal to the function ISBLANK on the cell is returning TRUE.Â
  2. You say in case of theÂcell state being an empty cell (ISBLANK=True), the ODF XML element of a table should have no child element descendants
If this is the case:
  1. Do you desire to 'move' shapes and annotations out of the table cell, or shall for cells with shapes or annotation the type 'void' be used?ÂÂ
  2. If the cell is empty (ISBLANK=True) should the XML be an empty XML element <table:table-cell/>?
    DoesÂit allowÂXML attributes, such as styles (e.g. background colour)?Â

During one of our last TC calls, you mentioned "multi-pass" of Gnumeric when loading ODS.
As far I understood, you desired images & annotations to be moved outside the XML of a cell.
Could you explain thisÂto me inÂmoreÂdetail?

Best regards,

Am Do., 25. Juni 2020 um 20:17ÂUhr schrieb Andreas J Guelzow <andreas.guelzow@concordia.ab.ca>:


As far as I am concerned #3 is meaningless, since for the user this just means the cell "looks" empty (for example it could have a number format that for zero only shows the empth string and so looks empty when it has the value 0). As a spreadsheet user, a cell being empty really just means ISBLANK returns TRUE.

#2 is concerned with storage of the spreadsheet in ODF format. I believe that should be the consequence of #1.


On 2020-06-25 12:04 p.m., Svante Schubert wrote:
Dear TC members,

Regina and I discussed a bit offline and we would like to suggest a small high-level semantic suggestion before we start working out the details.
She suggested and I am following this idea to accept that there are different semantics on "Empty Cell" within the specification, that we have to define each and explicitly name them:
  1. The case whenÂ@office:value-type="void" and ISBLANK is returning trueÂÂ
    From the perspective of formula calculation, a cell is empty, if there is no calculable content (according to the existing ODF formula set).
  2. From the XML perspective the cell is empty, if <table:table-cell> has no descendants. (This case is likely never used within the specification).
  3. From a userÂperspective, likely derived from the view on a table on a sheet of paper, the table is empty if there is no content.
    Which brings us to the follow-up question that Andreas recently raised: WhatÂis content?
Perhaps it helps to make smaller steps and agree with little by little instead of trying to eat an Elephant.

Best regards,

Andreas J. Guelzow, PhD FTICA

Registrar & Director of Enrolment Services

Professor, Mathematical & Computing Sciences

Direct: +1 780 479 9290
Toll-Free: +1 866 479 5200

Concordia University of


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