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Re: I'd rather edit my spreadsheet with a text editor
Matthias Radestock said:
> Andrew Pimlott wrote:
>> Right. My specific point was that, in the spreadsheet software I've
>> used, code is wildly redundant and minimally visible. I'm musing
>> about bugs due to these misfeatures.
> The following was in the news today:
> "A simple spreadsheet error cost a firm a whopping US$24m."
> It would be interesting to find out the exact nature of the bug that
> caused this and whether it would have been spotted if a different tool
> had been used.
We have an error that occurs routinely, and it happens to be an
error of the "type" type. At my company we often use comma-
delimited files to transfer data from Excel to database and vice-versa.
This information is usually about security trades (securities in
the sense of equities, like common stock), which are identified
by a twelve-character alphanumeric string. When the only
letter in that string happens to be an 'E', Excel, like a perfect
smartass, takes that string to be a number written in
scientific notation. When hundreds or thousands of trades
are involved, this error can be difficult to find and correct.
There are, of course, workarounds, but we usually
don't have control of the data production on both ends.
So, to repeat what has already been said, it would be nice
to be able to specify all the type information inside a text file,
so that we could TELL the spreadsheet what it's looking at,
rather that having to correct its false assumptions.
Kevin Kelleher <email@example.com>