Recommendation: Delete Calc>"Range Functions"(or renovate?)

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Recommendation: Delete Calc>"Range Functions"(or renovate?)

Postby Villeroy » Thu Feb 21, 2008 5:57 pm

Calc's sub-forum "Range Functions" could dissolve completely. It is a collection of unrelated posts. Everything related to the original intention is cluttered across other forums.
AFAIK , the original intention was a separate forum about list processing in spreadsheets. This category could take a reasonable amount of threads (aprox. 20% of all sheet issues), but many people think that this is the main purpose of a spreadsheet anyways.

However, I believe the original intention was right. List processing deserves it's own sub-forum, but the distinction is not reasonable for newbees.
What could be done to give a second try?
- Rename to "List Processing"
- Write a sticky introduction (keywords: menu "Data", normalized vs. crossed, split/filter/sort lists, consolidate/aggregate lists, import/export lists, ...)
Huh, this introduction is going to be huge. It would include dozends of nearly undocumented or missing features, bugs, glitches and workarounds.
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: Recommendation: Delete Calc>"Range Functions"(or renovate?)

Postby huw » Thu Feb 21, 2008 6:38 pm

Agreed. "Range functions" meant named ranges etc. to me, and I always wondered why it got its own forum. "List Processing" is less ambiguous but I suspect still meaningless to most people, certainly first timers.

"Lists & Databases" would work, but personally I'd want to see a disclaimer-style description alongside such as "Spreadsheets are a very bad idea for storing databases, but most end-users have no alternative, and millions do it, so here's a forum anyway...".
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Re: Recommendation: Delete Calc>"Range Functions"(or renovate?)

Postby kingfisher » Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:24 am

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Only 9 topics. It seems that most people don't get it. I use Data Ranges but have no knowledge of Data Pilot, so I question whether the two necessarily belong together. I don't even know what a DBMS is. Data Pilot and DBMS seem to be too specialised to warrant a separate board.
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Re: Recommendation: Delete Calc>"Range Functions"(or renovate?)

Postby Villeroy » Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:26 am

OK, so these deserve to be moved to the API forum:
how to define print areas by macro?
Determining, saving and going back to a range?
The remaining 7 belong to the main Calc forum.

kingfisher wrote:Data Pilot and DBMS seem to be too specialised to warrant a separate board.

Calc does not deal with DBMS. This is what Base does before it exposes tables to other components such as Calc. What most users, even advanced spreadsheet users, do not consider is normalization:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Database_normalization linking to:
http://phlonx.com/resources/nf3/ (starting with a spreadsheet example)
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/283878

Once you've got a spreadsheet table as follows ...
- each column describes one property of row-items
- each row describes exactly one item.
- the count of column is fixed (e.g. no columns for each subsequent day or category)
- sort order does not change the meaning of data (no relations between rows)
... you've got a list (normalized table of some form).
Lists are "machine readable" in a broad sence. And this is what the "Range Functions" do. You can apply data pilots, sub-totals, filters, consolidation, all the D-functions, SUMIF, COUNTIF, SUMPRODUCT and lookups across other tables. All this can not work well with a common spreadsheet table designed like this:
Code: Select all   Expand viewCollapse view
August 2007
v  > 1 2 3 ... 31
Joe
Jim  ...values...
Pat

It is done as in the old paper days, where spreadsheets where pinned on walls. They are not processable as lists.
You need complex 2-D lookups and it is near impossible to get the sum for "Joe" in year 2007
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: Recommendation: Delete Calc>"Range Functions"(or renovate?)

Postby James » Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:29 pm

Villeroy wrote:OK, so these deserve to be moved to the API forum:
how to define print areas by macro?
Determining, saving and going back to a range?
The remaining 7 belong to the main Calc forum.

+1

As said in another post just made:
acknak wrote:...for newbies to find and use the first time ... the large number of forum choices we present, has to be rather intimidating.


Categorisation (sub-forums) can help when there is a high volume of posts, but in this case as noted above there are only 7 (legitimate) topics in here. I would think that this could be dissolved at least for now. If posts in this forum are tagged somehow before being moved, and any other new posts on this subject are tagged in the same way in the Calc forum, then the subforum could always be reinstated in the future if a need is perceived.

Shall we do this?
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Re: Recommendation: Delete Calc>"Range Functions"(or renovate?)

Postby DrewJensen » Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:37 pm

+1 for the removal
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[Push up]

Postby Villeroy » Sun Mar 09, 2008 7:42 pm

OK admins,
Let's move!
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: Recommendation: Delete Calc>"Range Functions"(or renovate?)

Postby James » Sun Mar 09, 2008 8:13 pm

I'm on it.
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Re: Recommendation: Delete Calc>"Range Functions"(or renovate?)

Postby James » Sun Mar 09, 2008 8:27 pm

OK, I've tagged all the topics that were in that forum [Range Functions] and moved...
Villeroy wrote:OK, so these deserve to be moved to the API forum:
how to define print areas by macro?
Determining, saving and going back to a range?
The remaining 7 belong to the main Calc forum.

Then deleted the Range Functions sub-forum.

Hope that's OK with everyone :)
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Re: Recommendation: Delete Calc>"Range Functions"(or renovate?)

Postby Villeroy » Sun Mar 09, 2008 8:43 pm

Thank you.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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