Here are my thoughts written after the ----> sign in response to Brian Barker's ideas:
Spreadsheets generally used for calculation, so preventing it would usually be considered a
drawback, not an advantage. You could put text
values into word processor tables instead. But chacun à son goût.
----> I forgot to mention: My colleagues use the computer like a typewriter.
Hold on: "BC 1000.01.01. to BC 9999.12.31." makes
no sense, as your start date is after your end
date! Do you mean BC 9999.12.31. to BC
1000.01.01.? But that starts at the end if the
first year and finishes at the beginning of the
end year, losing all but one day each of those
two years. So perhaps you mean BC 9999.01.01. to
BC 1000.12.31.? That's better, but it still
leaves you with what would be a roughly
twenty-thousand year range - but with a strange
central gap of 1998 years, from 999 BC (BCE) to
AD 999 (CE) inclusive. I can't imagine you mean that.
----> My suggestion was wrong. The date range should be:----> BC 9999.01.01. to AD 9999.12.31.---->
The missing range should be in this form:----> e.g. BC 0012.01.01. ----> 1st January 12
----> e.g. AD 0341.01.01. ----> 1st January 341----> e.g. AD 0016.01.01. ----> 1st January 16
----> The leading zeros should help in sorting the dates.
Spreadsheets have always been able to handle
text. I suspect most spreadsheet users would not
see selecting text as a data type to be a workaround, beautiful or otherwise.
----> My colleagues use the computer like a typewriter. That is why they want to input the date
format as it looks.----> Another problem is that there are different computer systems, e.g. Windows
XP, Windows 7, Office 2003, Office 2007, Office 2010. Unfortunately, Microsoft products produce
inconsistent results as usual in my environment. LibreOffice is changing and improving.
----> I consider recommending LibreOffice to my boss after making sure that it works consistently.
People make mistakes. One obvious limitation is
that non-existent dates can be entered as easily
as real ones. Entering "2015.02.29." as text
creates something looking as much like a date as
does "2015.02.28.", whereas entering these
(supposed) dates normally shows one as a
right-aligned date and the other as left-aligned
text. Only Erich Kästner and perhaps the
Tiananmen Square protestors are allowed the 35th of May.
----> Absolutely. Exactly a typist and typewriter can produce typos.----> A typist needs to accept
no automatic check for non-existent date, e.g. 44 January 2015.----> My boss appears to require the
staff's human check instead of automatic check.
But I say again: chacun à son goût.
----> I consider convincing my boss to use the automatic format. Custom format code:
YYYY"."MM"."DD"." which I know will produce 2015.01.01. without problems in LibreOffice.----> It is
very hard for me to convice my boss.----> I don't know if there is any tutorial teaching me how to
convince a typist to use the automatic tool. The typist is afraid of changing formats when the
automatic tool is enabled.----> Computer software changes all the time. I myself cannot guarantee
that the format will stay the same. Can the LibreOffice community "guarantee" the static format of
date? Alternatively, can the community make a design standard to let the users know that the future
versions of LibreOffice will handle the dates in the same way? How about quality assurance? Can the
quality assurance people help to check this date handling consistency before releasing another
improved version of LibreOffice.----> I am sure that with the "guarantee" or "best practice of
design", my colleagues (the typists) and I will be a bit comfortable in using LibreOffice for
internal computing at least.----> Thanks for ideas.
Best wishes,C. H. D.
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