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Re: [tdf-discuss] Calc: let things such as formulas do the rest of the work

On 06/11/2014 05:52 AM, david_lynch wrote:
I sent the message below to the users list. The moderator replied that I should raise the issues on this list.
In a recent "Macro's in Libre Calc" thread, Andrew Douglas Pitonyak, an expert on macros, wrote:

"Be certain to only do what you really need to do using a macro, and then let things such as formulas do the rest of the work."

Good advice, which I would like to take further. It is frustrating, as a user, not to be able to use formulas to do things that a macro could do. I'd like to propose as a (long-term) design aim:

"Enrich the functionality of Calc to enable formulas and similar to do what currently needs a macro. Use experience gained to influence the OpenFormula specification."

As a simple example, take REPLACE
    REPLACE("Text"; Position; Length; "NewText")
My spreadsheets would be greatly simplified if Text and NewText could be regular expressions. Currently, either I have to use macros, or use SEARCH, which does support regular expressions, and code the NewText regular expression myself. It's frustrating as the code to do what I want is in the Edit -> Find & Replace... dialog. Note that the enhanced REPLACE would be OpenFormula compliant. Another example is character editing within a cell: I realise that this is more demanding technically.

I seek feedback, advice and, I hope, support. In particular:
1. Are there design aims, or similar, in LibreOffice? If so, who owns them: does the Engineering Steering Committee have a role here? 2. Should we progress the strategic aspects first? Or should I propose tactical enhancements such as the one to REPLACE above? 3. How should I push this forward, whether tactically or strategically?

David Lynch

Side note David... Do not forget that you can easily write your own Calc functions and then call them from the calc document. For example, it would be simple to write exactly the function that you desire.

In calc, I wanted a function that would take a decimal number and convert it to the closest fraction, so, I simply wrote my own Macro function to do that, and then I call it from my Calc sheet. I wanted a function that would give me an internal rate of return based on randomly timed additions and subtractions, so, I wrote my own function to do exactly that. I am unsure if I did this calculation correctly, but it certainly returns believable values based on the intent of the function.

Andrew Pitonyak
My Macro Document:

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