Draft for review: ISO 8601 date work on IS 29500

Jesper Lund Stocholm jesper.stocholm at ciber.dk
Tue Jul 27 08:44:51 CEST 2010

Good morning, Chris

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chris Rae [mailto:Chris.Rae at microsoft.com]
> Sent: Monday, July 26, 2010 10:55 PM
> To: Jesper Lund Stocholm; rjelliffe at allette.com.au; e-sc34-wg4 at ecma-
> international.org
> Cc: Horton, Gareth
> Subject: RE: Draft for review: ISO 8601 date work on IS 29500
> I just spoke to Gareth about this, to make sure I wasn't off on my own
> here. We may be against the use of "may" in this instance.


*giggles* :o)

> I'd argue that it would be very hard to fully interoperate in formulas
> with any other spreadsheet application without using serial values, so
> we'd be steering people towards the wrong course by using "may" here.
> Unless you know in advance what sort of date formulas you're going to
> see, you really ought to implement serial values.

I completely agree that you want to implement serial dates if you are
creating a (full) Spreadsheet application with the intention of
interoperating with other users using other programs than yours.

But what if you are not trying to implement a spreadsheet application
but simply needed to process the data in a spreadsheet? What if you were
not implementing a presentation application but merely a "slide sorter"?
We want the text to be usable for both simple and complex usages.

In my opinion the current text-fragment we are talking about is aimed at
people/companies creating huge application suites like Lotus Symphony,
Microsoft Office etc. It is clear that these folks need to implement
serial dates. 

But the specification needs also to be targeted at other usages with
much, much more limited scope. In my example it would be a huge overhead
to implement serial dates simply to subtract two days from a date (with
the specified epoc implemented as well, of course). You'd simply use the
tool of your choice and x => x.Subtract(2) or whatever the syntax is of
your language.

(and I realize that there will probably be some internal conversion of
dates in the tool of choice, but for us (and OOXML) this is irrelevant.)

> Could we say "When used in formulas, dates and times behave as though
> they were serial date values"? It seems like that would steer people
> towards using serial values, but not mandate it for conformance.

I think we need an ISO modal verb here. How about using "should"?

"When used in formulas specified in this specification, dates and times
should be converted to serial date values"

Doesn't that strike a reasonable compromise between steering people in
the direction of implementing serial dates - while still allowing them
to make a conscious choice not to - if they don't have to in their
specific usage?

Murata-san, do you have some specific wording in mind in re: to Dennis
and suggestion to how to incorporate it into the text?

Med venlig hilsen / Best regards

Jesper Lund Stocholm

CIBER Danmark A/S
Mobil: +45 3094 5570
Email: jesper.stocholm at ciber.dk

More information about the sc34wg4 mailing list