It’s text when it’s quoted, stupid!

Ok. This is another one I just checked into ooo-build trunk. It’s actually a very minor enhancement, but some people may find this useful.

What I did is to modify Calc’s csv import filter to provide the users an option to always import quoted fields (or cells) as text. Here is a screenshot of the dialog with this new option:

Hopefully what it does is self-evident. If not, here is an example.

Let’s say you have a csv file of the following content:

"0-0" "1-0" "2-0" "3-0" "4-0" "5-0"
"0-1" "1-1" "2-1" "3-1" "4-1" "5-1"

When you import this file into Calc, here is what you get with the current version:

As you can see, most of the fields got converted to dates. You get the same results even if those individual cells are not quoted, because Calc’s current csv import filter doesn’t make any distinction between quoted and unquoted fields in terms of data types.

When you import this file using the new option, you get this instead:

Now, all quoted fields are imported as text, with no surprise conversion. Plain and simple. :-)

ike-scan available from Build Service (and how I built my first RPM package)

ike-scan is now available for openSUSE from my personal repository on openSUSE Build Service. I decided to provide a package for this network security tool because my wife needed it for her job, and had asked me why no one had provided an RPM package for this tool on openSUSE.

This was also the first time I ever built any RPM package on my own. There was a lot of tutorials all over the web on how to build RPM packages, but many were either very outdated or didn’t give me enough info to fully understand the RPM packaging process (or I was just having a bad Google karma). I ended up wasting more time than I had wanted out of my precious Saturday family time, but eventually got the package to build. (Yay for me!)

What’s more cool, though, is the Build Service that openSUSE project provides. The Build Service basically provides a convenient way to build and host RPM packages for multiple distros, not just openSUSE but other distros like Fedora, RHEL, Debian and Ubuntu, while all you have to do is to provide the source tarball and a spec file. There is even a wizard to create a spec file from a tarball (though you probably have to review and edit it once it’s auto-generated).

Anyway, I have to say it was quite fascinating to watch it automatically build multiple packages for different distros after each spec file edit, and make them automatically available in the repository once the build is finished. This site is way, way cool!

Separate your stuff!

So, here is another new thing in ooo-build trunk that I just checked in. This may be particularly of interest to users in English-speaking countries.

This new option page named Formula lets you configure separators in your formula expressions. This comes in handy when, for instance, you want to separate your function parameters by commas (,) instead of semicolons (;) so that, instead of typing


you could type


like you are used to if you are coming from the other major spreadsheet application from the certain big company on the west coast of the US.

Likewise, you can also change the column and row separators for in-line arrays. Previously, an in-line array used semicolons (;) as the column separators and the pipe symbols (|) as the row separators, so a typical in-line array expression looked like this


for a 5 x 2 matrix array. By changing the column separators to commas (,) and the row separators to semicolons (;), the same expression will look like this


Now, the formula syntax option was there before I checked this piece in, but it was in the Calculate option page. I moved it to the new Formula page because I felt that those two configuration options really should belong together.

Anyway, this is probably good news especially for users in the English locales, where people are most used to having commas as the function argument separators but are frustrated by Calc because Calc forced them to get used to using semicolons to separate the parameters. Well, frustrate no more. :-)

Of course, those who prefer Calc’s conventional separators can revert back to them since they are configurable. So, these is no loss for the old-time Calc users who just want the old separators back. ;-)

Hiding data from chart

Here is something new in ooo-build trunk. You can now hide arbitrary data points in chart if their source cells are hidden in a spreadsheet document. Here is the proof:

There is now a new check box in the Data Series Option page, to select whether or not to plot data from hidden cells. By default, chart plots all data points regardless of cell’s visibility (which means the check box is on by default). By un-selecting the check box, the chart now only plots data from visible cells, and every time you show or hide a part of the source data range, the chart gets updated.

The upstreaming effort is underway in the koheichart01 CWS. I’m trying to squeeze this into 3.1, but because of the limited availability of QA resource, it might likely slip into 3.2. I’m still trying to find someone who can QA my CWS, but let’s see what happens.