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Subject: RE: [opendocument-users] Guidance for using cells in tables (ODFSpreadsheets)

Sticking my nose in, even though I've never used ODF Spreadsheets, I'm baffled by this conversation.

If the attribute sets the type of the cell contents, then (apparently) at least some system would presume to find in the cell content that conformed to that type and fail (report | balk | scream | die) if it does not.  Sometimes the content needs to be rendered in a localized format, which might make it unrecognizable to a process looking for something that matches the type declared in the attribute.  I have no trouble understanding any of that.

But, why would one localize the content, rather than localize the style sheet for the cell?  Is it not possible to populate the cell with the UTC date and apply a style that matches the local conventions, including language?  In that case, a process relying on the type attribute should work correctly.

I'm at a complete loss to understand why anyone would put the content value in both an attribute and the cell.  Without regard to anything specific to ODF Spreadsheets, duplicating information in two places like that seems to be asking for trouble.  If it's in the cell, the style sheet can format it.  An attribute can declare the type so that the calculator knows how to deal with it, without regard to the style except at rendering.  So, what's the purpose of putting the cell content in an attribute as well?  Seems dangerously redundant.

I can see the value of putting a date attribute on a cell's content, if only to record when the value was entered.  If the cell content also happens to be a date and the type attribute tells you that, well, that's OK.  Any difference between the values would be chalked up to the difference in their meaning (date the content was created, date that this license expires, for example).

But I'm probably missing something important.  I write this mostly to clarify my own thoughts on the matter, so if no one wants to correct me, that's OK too.

Bruce B Cox
Director, Standards and Policy Division

-----Original Message-----
From: Jesper Lund Stocholm [mailto:4a4553504552@gmail.com] 
Sent: Thursday, October 08, 2009 4:11 PM
Cc: opendocument-users@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: Re: [opendocument-users] Guidance for using cells in tables (ODF Spreadsheets)

Hi Rob,

2009/10/8  <robert_weir@us.ibm.com>:
> I just thought of a legitimate use case.  A cell with a formula =NOW().

Yes - and I believe the use case I mentioned with the dates and the
formatted date are just as valid.

<table:table-cell office:value-type="date"
office:date-value="2009-10-08T09:45:00" >
 <text:p>Onsdag d. 8. oktober 2009 kl. 9.45</text:p>

The above string is an example of "Danish date format" for date and
time, and the problem arises when I store this value in a paragraph in
a cell along with the UTC-date in the attribute and send this to
another tool - possible in another part of the world. It is not likely
that the application will be able to interpret this and find the
correct value - as specified in the date-value attribute.

So to the application, the situation is, that "there is a date value
in the date-value attribute, but the content of the cell is not a
date". What do I do now?

I was looking for some guidance in the spec along the lines of "if the
content in a paragraph of the cell has been qualified in a
<table:table-cell>-attribute, this attribute value takes precedense of
the content itself when evaluating the value of the cell".

But as I read your response, this behaviour is application defined. I
do agree with you, though, that it is difficult to pin down exactly
what to do in any specific situation and that it's certainly a
tradeoff between what you want and what you can.

Thanks for your input. If there are other implementers out there that
have implemented behaviour like this, please feel free to pitch in.


Jesper Lund Stocholm
SC34/WG4 http://www.itscj.ipsj.or.jp/sc34/wg4/

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