[Haskell-cafe] Speculation, OT: Program a Spreadsheet

Sergiu Ivanov sivanov at colimite.fr
Sun Nov 19 10:40:46 UTC 2017

Hello Trent,

Thus quoth  trent shipley  on Sun Nov 19 2017 at 08:05 (+0100):
> I have a vision for a spreadsheet that is programmable as a spreadsheet
> itself.
> * Is a spreadsheet you can program from the spreadsheet a reasonable
> goal?

What kind of use cases do you imagine for your programmable spreadsheet?
"Reasonable" will usually depend on your context.

The idea in itself is definitely interesting, but you really should
define the application context to make it clearer.

> * Has it been done?
> (I don't have the academic CS chops to know what keywords to use, and how
> search CS publications in English.)

I haven't heard of anything like that expressly, but then the functions
in conventional spreadsheets are technically sufficiently powerful to
express any computation.

The question therefore comes back again to what your application would
be: you could design your spreadsheet around it.

> It would be natural to use C++, but the astute will note that a spreadsheet
> basically does not rewrite cells (unless you use a circular reference), so
> I'd also like to use a functional language, maybe Haskel.

Since you want to write functions in cells, you are probably better off
using a language with a compact syntax.  Haskell is one of them, but not
the only one.

Using C++ looks in no way natural _to me_; "natural" will also depend on
your use case ;-)

> Note that a spreadsheet needs to give the satisfaction of immediate
> results, or failing immediate results, the sensation of actively working,
> so if the language could be interpreted that would be a huge help.

Since your spreadsheet code will be heavily modularised, you could
probably do some very granular (therefore fast) compilation.

> Note also, that I have only the equivalent of an AA degree from a CIS, not
> a CS, perspective, so the odds are the whole idea is vaporware, unless I
> can determine feasibility and desirability, then sweet talk real developers
> to help out.

Having or not a degree is usually rather weakly (if not negatively)
correlated with thinking or being capable of getting things done :-) So
don't worry, go ahead and think big; there will always be people around
to try and shoot down the hot-air balloons of your imagination for you.

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 487 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://mail.haskell.org/pipermail/haskell-cafe/attachments/20171119/8446426e/attachment.sig>

More information about the Haskell-Cafe mailing list