Calc/Drafts/Show Formula Syntax
Design for a new feature in Calc: "Show Formula Syntax in tip help"
According to the request of the to-do list in Calc OOo community, the feature is to show formula syntax in tip help in Calc. This feature would make the user get immediate feedback when a cell formula is being edited, in addition to the function selection above the cell, show some input hints (like the syntax of the function that is edited) in a tip help window below the cell
the Specification of this new feature
This feature has been discussed extensively in a thread on the UX discuss mailing list. Several specific variations of and additions to the original specification have been discussed, including:
- In tip help, highlighting the currently expected function argument using surrounding space characters (also referred to as "suggestion 2").
- In tip help, highlighting the currently expected function argument using a special character, e.g. a downwards arrow ("suggestion 8").
- In tip help, explicitly stating the currently expected function argument using natural language ("suggestion 3").
The above three points tried to work around the fact that formatting currently isn't supported in tip help.
- In edited cell, using suggest-as-you-type autocompletion to inform about function syntax and aid formula editing ("suggestion 4").
- Using tip help syntax info combined with a programming-environment-like suggest-and-pick interface (comparable to Eclipse's Content Assist).
In the discussion of these rather specific suggestions, the need was recognized to step back and analyze the formula manipulation process as a whole. What lies behind this requirement? What functions do people use? What are they trying to achieve? This "big picture" analysis will include a re-evaluation of the current procedures and components.
Because this analysis will take time, Maoyg is going to implement "suggestion 8" in the meanwhile.