ThoughtStorms Wiki

About spread sheets

Concrete and Abstract

Another interesting thing about spreadsheets is the way they mix concrete and abstract. And partly provide help in going from one to the other (ConcreteToAbstract). For example copying a concrete calculation from one cell into a column and having it generalized across all the other rows. Or being able to edit a formula and turn absolute addresses into relative ones.

OTOH might spreadsheet users often suffer the same problem as urbanists described in SpaceVsInformationFlows. After a while the 2D spatial layout inhibits further abstraction to the real information flows in the spreadsheet. It gets hard to escape the constraints and conventions of the sheet metaphor. Guess this is always the problem of metaphors, but it would be nice if there was some imaginative thinking on this in spreadsheets. Is anything happening here?

(Hmmm. does this earn BonusFreakyConnectionPoints?)

Spreadsheet UI : Against Tabs / Multisheets


Me : I hate tabs in spreadsheets. It's a horrible incorrect and confusing metaphor. (Too long to explain in 1 tweet, ask if you want the long version)

CodexEditor : Definitely interested in hearing your objections and solutions ....

Me : You asked :-)

Spreadsheet tabs introduce a new, ad hoc & unnecessary mechanism for something that would be handled better and with more principle by a more general mechanism.


1) tabs are part of the EDITOR, not the DATA & should be late bound to their content.

Think of browser tabs. Or panels in Emacs.

2) we should have a way of storing multiple DOCUMENTS within one ARCHIVE file.

3) documents (including spreadsheets) should be able to refer to / transclude from other documents.

If you have 1, 2 & 3, you have something more flexible and you don't need tabs within spreadsheets which is just fudge for lack of them.

Earlier Stuff

Online Spreadsheets : http://platformwars.blogspot.com/2006/06/interesting-gillmor-gang.html

Work with JSON in them https://donhopkins.medium.com/representing-and-editing-json-with-spreadsheets-8f8832db5239