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Re: Spreadsheet support in core Octave instead of io package?

From: Philip Nienhuis
Subject: Re: Spreadsheet support in core Octave instead of io package?
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2014 13:35:29 -0700 (PDT)

John W. Eaton wrote
> xlsread, xlswrite, and xlsfinfo are all core functions in Matlab.  I'd 
> like to make them core functions in Octave as well, as I suspect many 
> users would like to have these functions available by default without 
> having to install a separate package.  Is there any objection to moving 
> them from the io package to core Octave?
> I'd also consider moving the odsread, odswrite, and odsfinfo functions 
> to core Octave at the same time, though I also wonder whether it might 
> make sense to just put the XLS and ODS capabilities in a single function 
> instead of splitting them up in separate functions.

The intention is absolutely good, but the present io package setup may be
too complicated for direct absorbing into core Octave. I have some definite
plans to simplify and clean up the code once a few bugs are out of the way.
I have some longer-standing ideas about how to move it into core Octave that
I'd like to share, but currently I'm on a short holiday with my family w/o
much time for Octave.
If you don't mind I'll try next weekend to outline my thoughts.

It may be good to try to follow the logic of xls/odsread/write to get some
ideas. FYI, "interface" refers to the variants of support SW/dependencies
required for spreadsheet I/O. There is one interface w/o external
dependencies but still experimental and only for a limited number of file
formats; there are several other Java based interfaces that are much more
reliable and flexible. And as Michael G wrote, there's also an interface
invoking Excel itself on Windows, a la "system (...)" but more direct
through system libraries.

I think after some preparation a basic xlsread/odsread & xlswrite/odswrite &
xlsfinfo/odsfinfo could go in core Octave, initially to be
augmented/overloaded by more flexible OF io package functions if users
desire it. Later on more functionality can be moved piece by piece into core
Octave then.


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