Archive for the ‘Calc’ Category

October

02

by Kaj Kandler

I just learned that one needs to be careful when installing OpenOffice.org 2.3 on SuSE 10.X. Aparrently the packaging has changed so that you can install the various applications, such as Writer, Calc, Base and Impress, separately.

August

15

by Kaj Kandler

Simon Murphy does reflect in a recent article on how most of his recent work in spreadsheet programming has been connected to server data.

It reminded me to check up on the announced support for OpenOffice.org Calc by the Palo Spreadsheet server. Unfortunately no product announcements have been made. But it appears Jedox still pursues the idea, as they put it on the list of projects the Palo Server team wanted to apply for Google’s Summer of Code funding.

June

05

by Kaj Kandler

The developers of OpenOffice.org have implemented some major improvement of memory usage for OpenOffice.org Calc. In their sample spreadsheet it reduces the overall memory requirement by 28%. I have some users of OOo complain to me that Calc could not handle very large spreadsheet and it so it was very slow. This could be a major step to alleviate their pain.

Don’t hold your breath yet, because this improvement will only come to you with release 2.3 planned in September 2007.

April

20

by Kaj Kandler

Sun and the OpenOffice.org community found an agreement Pentaho to integrate business intelligence features into the next release of OpenOffice.org. Pentaho has recently integrated formerly separate open source projects JFreeReport, Mondrian, Kettle, and Weka to a powerful business intelligence server complete with reporting, analysis and OLAP capabilities.

The project offers a J2EE compliant reporting server, that can connect to many data sources and integrates workflow to create and distribute important report information to the authorized people in an enterprise. The project also offers a powerful report designer based on Eclipse and is modular so it can be integrated into other applications.

Apparently, Sun has decided it will build a Report designer of its own that defines reports in Pentaho’s formats. These reports will draw data from the Pentaho business intelligence server as well as from other sources.

If you want to see how example the integration of OLAP features into an Excel spreadsheet could look like, watch the demos of Jedox Palo Server a repository and OLAP server for Excel spreadsheets. These demos cover a specific case of OLAP and Spreadsheet integration, which I think is one possible use of the OpenOffice.org Business Inteligence integration project. However, it makes the abstract term of business intelligence more concrete. By the way Palo announced at the beginning of the year that it seeks sponsors to build a spreadsheet server for OpenOffice Calc. The sponsors role is to help cover the cost of open source development and to become first users.

April

05

by Kaj Kandler

Software easter eggs are popular among programmers and geeks alike. No, you can’t eat them and they don’t count for you diet as calories. But like real easter eggs, they are hidden features found in some applications.

The OpenOffice.org easter egg is a space invader style game, hidden in OOo Calc. To find it:

  1. Open a new spreadsheet
  2. Enter the formula ‘=game()’ in any cell, press
  3. Enter in the next cell the formula ‘=game(“StarWars”)’

Voila, you got a game that resembles “Space Invaders”.

March

29

by Kaj Kandler

The OpenOffice.org community has released their latest version today.

The new release 2.2 has better integration of Microsoft Vista UI elements, as well as improved Apple OS X support, such as smaller installed size and many stability improvements.

On the functional side there are new features in Pivot tables and trigonometric functions for Calc spreadsheets. Spreadsheets also improve interoperability with MS Excel. For the database fan, Base got new “Query in Query” features and improved SQL editing in general. In addition, support for various ODBC drivers has been improved. Impress, the presentation application has improved handling of hidden slides.

All users might see improved character rendering, because the kerning feature, to boost readability of proportional fonts, is now on by default. Making documents look good also touches PDF with improved font handling and added bookmarks. You can now even add form-fields to your PDF.

With the latest update OpenOffice.org has also plugged some vulnerabilities to boost security from hackers.

January

23

by Kaj Kandler

Are you in need of Fuzzy math. I do not mean the political rhetoric, but rather the mathematical concept of fuzzy logic and fuzzy math.

Now you can calculate with fuzzy math in OpenOffice.org Calc spreadsheets, thanks to the new InrecoLAN FuzzyMath component.

The component allows to use uncertain or approximate values in OpenOffice.org Calc. It means you can perform ordinary arithmetic operations and use ordinary mathematical and financial functions with uncertain values as if they are standard, or crisp, numbers. The component allows you to create and edit fuzzy numbers, use fuzzy numbers in formulas. You can also display the graphs from the fuzzy numbers and results of calculations.

Fuzzy math has strong mathematical basis. This component enhances all mathematical and financial OpenOffice.org Calc functions for which fuzziness might be reasonable.

InrecoLAN FuzzyMath is distributed under GNU General Public Licese (GPL). Source code and the newest versions of the component are available at SourceForge.

Learn more about it at www.openfuzzymath.org.

January

20

by Kaj Kandler

Jedox, the company behind the Palo Spreadsheet server has started to seek sponsors for supporting OpenOffice.org Calc. In an interesting marriage of open source and commercial project sponsorship, they have found pledges from an Australian Winery and some German engineering firms. However, at this point the tally stands at 6500 Euro, which is not much for a medium size software project.

The idea behind this effort is to store spread sheet data on a server and offer OLAP capability to create sophisticated reports, that can be aggregated among many dimensions, such as sales data by month, quarter, year, sales person, region, customer size, promotional costs, support costs or any combination of these. This kind of application gears towards enterprise customers who need analytical aggregation of data to support decision processes.

Palo server is an open source project and is currently only available for Microsoft Excel.

October

06

by Kaj Kandler

I have recently reported on the new OpenOffice.org chart module and its improvements. Looks like Linux.com has also noticed the ongoing development of better charts for Calc. They have some nice screen shots of the chart preview, the ability to add regression curves, and the new flexible data ranges.

Unfortunately, they confirm the uncertain release schedule.

September

07

by Kaj Kandler

The OpenOffice.org development team is hard at work to make its office productivity suite better than ever.

Bruce Byfield reviews an OpenOffice.org milestone release and particularly its charting component. Although the component is not yet scheduled for any release date, Bruce does describe in detail the many changes and enhancements of the chart wizard for OpenOffice.org Calc. I guess it will be far into 2007 before we see the fruits of this work.