Fix the Macro Recorder

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Fix the Macro Recorder

Postby Richarda44 » Wed May 06, 2015 6:54 pm

I would like to have a Macro Recorder that works with all the repetitive things an ordinary spreadsheet user does. As a non programmer and non professional, I am grateful for Open Office and all it does for me. As long as I bother to learn its commands and functions I am delighted with the results. So why can't the macro recorder just copy in a user friendly way? The undo function works backwards; why not the recorder forwards?

I see many ordinary users on the calc forum asking "how to" deal with macros and feel their frustration when faced with the proverbial steep learning curve. Lotus Symphony had a great macro language which non professionals could easily use back in the 1980s. Why has so called progress made it all much more user unfriendly? If the macro recorder worked I could edit the macros and learn that way.

thanks
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Re: Fix the Macro Recorder

Postby Villeroy » Wed May 06, 2015 7:10 pm

Please do us all a favour and use the software that works for you. As a non programmer you can use a spreadsheet as a simplified (more visual) programming language. I am rather proficient with spreadsheets and I know a little bit about programming. These are 2 opposite skills with a little overlap. Either I can do it on a sheet OR there is some other application OR I try to write a small program to process my data. I rarely write any macro program for a spreadsheet.
Most spreadsheet users don't know that they want a database actually. They try to organize precious data in the unstructured calculation grids of a spreadsheet. On this spreadsheet forum you find only very few questions about math and statistics because calculating is not what most users want to do with Calc.
I'm 99% sure that nobody will ever write a working macro recorder. In LibreOffice this anti-feature is disabled by default. I think that not having any kind of macro recorder is a feature.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Fix the Macro Recorder

Postby Richarda44 » Thu May 07, 2015 3:18 pm

Thank you Villeroy for your reply.
I do not agree that "Most spreadsheet users don't know that they want a database actually." What they want is something more user friendly for simpletons like me. We do not want our noses rubbed in being simpletons. Since there is a macro recorder it ought to work, or else have a government mental health warning attached.

I still wonder at the trend from Lotus Symphony's user friendliness to today's more sophisticated but less user friendly software and I wish the user friendly bit would keep up.
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Re: Fix the Macro Recorder

Postby Villeroy » Thu May 07, 2015 5:54 pm

Richarda44 wrote:I do not agree that "Most spreadsheet users don't know that they want a database actually." What they want is something more user friendly for simpletons like me. We do not want our noses rubbed in being simpletons.

Then you need fool proof applications for your particular purpose. Simpletons can and must not use any generic tools. Spreadsheets are generic toolsbecause they do not serve any particular purpose. You can use them for all kinds of things (if you can). They are simplified, more visual programming languages. Spreadsheets exist since the late 70ies. The first spreadsheet "Visicalc" was very similar to Calc. The basic prinicples did not change in all those years while the average computer user became dumber and dumber.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Fix the Macro Recorder

Postby Richarda44 » Fri May 08, 2015 10:32 am

Villeroy wrote:The basic prinicples did not change in all those years while the average computer user became dumber and dumber.
[/quote]

So if the basics haven't changed why are they less intuitive and user friendly than the 80s offerings?

And I do not share your views about the average user getting dumber. It is just that non programmers are learning to ask more of the software and need a little help from the likes of yourself and other generous types on this forum. I can understand your annoyance when we don't do our homework or bother to learn the basics, and I am thankful when you are willing to share your expertise and teach lesser mortals who don't want to spend a lifetime learning machine language.

One of the things that really inspires me is that this software and this forum are good examples of "The Gift Economy"
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Re: Fix the Macro Recorder

Postby RoryOF » Fri May 08, 2015 10:47 am

I think there is no doubt about the average user getting dumber. To many people computers are "magic boxes" and they expect the "magic box" to read their minds and just work. Read the postings on the Forum, as the moderators and most of the volunteers do, and one can have no doubt about the inability of many posters to even perform an Internet search or even to follow the simplest instructions.

It is good that a poster is aware of his lack of knowledge and informs of this in his posting, but it does not excuse lack of effort on his part. If I were to post to a writer's forum and say "I want to write a book in Swahili, but have no knowledge of the language" I'd get a set of very terse replies, which might be summarized as "learn the language first". To take my parallel even further, some of the queries expect the equivalent of being told how to hold the pen and form the letters.
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Re: Fix the Macro Recorder

Postby acknak » Fri May 08, 2015 11:12 am

It's hard to argue with the point: if a feature is provided it ought to work.

And, having used software with a dependable macro recorder, I have to say it can be a very useful tool even for non-programmers.

The situation with OO's recorder though is a bit more complicated. Although it fails most of the time, it is still useful: sometimes, for simple things, it does work, and even when it fails, it may still provide a starting point for working macro code. So taking it out altogether would be a step backward in some ways.

Fixing the recorder seems unlikely. My guess is that it would take a lot of work, and there just aren't enough resources to tackle it.

If you really need a macro, there are people here who can help, but it will take some effort to get up to speed on the basics. It's not going to be a couple of clicks and done.
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Re: Fix the Macro Recorder

Postby Richarda44 » Fri May 15, 2015 8:04 pm

I really can't agree with "users getting dumber". It is apparent that more and more "non-programmers" are finding how useful this free software is but they are curious adventurers, not dumb. I agree it must be trying for you experts being asked to continuously "reinvent the wheel" but with this (excellent) forum that is inevitable considering the mixed ability class you are encouraging by helping.

Lotus Symphony was more user friendly for me and even had paper manuals which I used to learn about those features I had not yet used. If as Villeroy said, the underlying basic multipurpose spreadsheet has not changed, then why should its intuitive ease of use?

It does not seem fair or logical to call people dumb because they are not advanced programmers. Open Office is a community-based gift and not everyone in a community can be "jack-of-all-trades". I would rather encourage "power-with collaboration" than use dumbness to foster "power-over-politics".

My dream? A simple macro recorder that can copy everything I do. Then I can study the produced code (if I am totally bored and have nothing better to do) ;) Acknak if you ever come to Scotland I'd like to buy you a beer.

Richard
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Re: Fix the Macro Recorder

Postby Villeroy » Sat May 16, 2015 9:33 pm

Recorded macros are the automated way to destroy your data. Sooner or later any of the macro's preconditions is not fulfilled and the code will perform its task on the wrong sheet, wrong area, using wrong references or anything like that.
If you think that you need macros, then I would suspect that you did not find the right way how to do your task with a spreadsheet or that any spreadsheet is the wrong tool anyway. I'm fairly sure that nobody will ever implement a new macro recorder for Calc.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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