[Libreoffice] Calc - a better design ...

Noel Grandin noel at peralex.com
Thu Oct 20 02:58:48 PDT 2011


Sounds like a good idea would be to create a master tracking bug in bugzilla around this plan,
then split off the different changes into blocking sub-bugs,
and mark some of the easier ones so that other people can start doing them.

Regards, Noel.

Michael Meeks wrote:
> Hi Kevin,
> On Thu, 2011-10-20 at 02:00 -0400, Kevin Hunter wrote:
>> I'm hesitant to ask this because I cannot personally promise time toward 
>> LO (only on an as-can basis, which is dismally small ATM), but hey, you 
>> can easily so no.  :-)  You mention "really need[ing] a whiteboard" to 
>> elaborate properly.
> 	That really helps; having said that - I sat down with Eike & Kohei to
> discuss this in Paris, and (I hope) managed to communicate the essence
> of the idea.
>>   I submit that putting your thoughts together, perhaps in picture
>> form and available on the LO wiki, or put together as a small video
>> to Youtube, would be extremely useful to casual LO coders 
>> like myself.
> 	Sure - so first off, since I'm not actively hacking on calc (as of
> now), this is really not my call. I tried to persuade Kohei & Eike of
> the intrinsic improvements possible with the new design - if I'm lucky
> then they agree that I'm not mad & might think about that. Of course - I
> can create a video too, but ... ;-)
>>   As an individual volunteer without a face-to-face LO team 
>> member against whom to bounce ideas, I'd thoroughly love an 
>> actual-paid-engineer's thoughts on how best to proceed on this front.
> 	So - the very essence of what I'd like to see happen in calc, and the
> foundation for it - is to remove the idea that a spreadsheet is a
> collection of 'Cell' objects. This seems (to me) to be the foundation of
> our scalability problems.
>> I'm personally motivated for Calc because in my science career, I really 
>> have to bend over backwards to make Calc work effectively for my needs 
>> where Excel works just plain better/faster/smaller, yet I 
>> philosophically have stuck myself with Free software.  To me, one of the 
>> biggest areas of weakness for LO, after the various random crashes 
>> (which are getting better!), is the memory bloat, and speed.  It's not 
>> features.
> 	Right. So the biggest piece (I see) that need tackling here before we
> can take advantage of the new code is to start restricting the scope of
> 'ScBaseCell' pointers in LibreOffice calc. Last I looked (which was a
> while ago) we use ScBaseCell pointers all around the place for things
> like undo/redo, change tracking, copy/paste, document construction etc.
> 	If you wanted to re-start the effort to remove ScBaseCell's mpNote
> pointer (which is very infrequently used) - that'd be a great place to
> see some of the problems: ultimately I think we want to remove
> ScBaseCell (and it's derivatives) entirely - leaving a (numeric) cell as
> a single 'double' inside a fixed column-array of entries of the same
> type.
> 	Of course, even without the grand vision coming to fruition, saving 4
> (or 8) bytes per cell would be worthwhile, and improving the above areas
> to handle storage of ranges of cell contents in a better encapsulated
> way would be rather valuable - I think.
> 	But of course, you really want to talk to Eike / Kohei / Markus.
>> I'm happy to mess with Ixion (and indeed have poked at it some already)
> 	Right - IMHO, the real problem we have is not so much Ixion (which is
> great), but massaging the existing code into a good shape to be ready
> for it's heart transplant ;-) The above would be a great step in that
> direction.
> 	Of course, if the calc developers don't object, I'm happy to create a
> video of me making a fool of myself with a whiteboard too if you think
> it helps :-)
> 	All the best,
> 		Michael.

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