Formcalc

by Captain Walker

Categories: Humanities

Oh well – I know – nothing better to do, so I’ve been studying Javascript  and Formcalc. Why the devil would I want to do that?!!!

I think that forms which people fill out can be automated so that manual calculations do not need to be carried out routinely. So for last year or so have been teaching myself how to create forms with three types of Adobe Software.

But I came up on a ‘wall’, when I created tables that were meant to calculate figures. Javascript is more cumbersome, so left that on the back-burner for a while.

Well – it’s surprising how much information is not out there on something like Formcalc – for the problem I had. Basically needed to add and subtract numbers in various table cells. You’d think that was just as easy as sticking in + and –  signs. It ain’t. After Formcalc refused to obey, I had to programme myself on how Formcalc worked. So read up Adobe Reference on the thing under ES4. Then came up with the solution!!

Most of the time people think about programming computers as a task. But actually in order to use computers or software effectively the business is about us programming our brain on how to use the thing. The reason why people give up on ‘computers’ is really not about the ‘computer’ itself – it’s about the difficulty of self-programming. What’s that?!! Chyrsst!! I have to explain every bleeding detail. It’s about reading the instructions to the ‘thing’, understanding it, removing preconceptions, testing it, doing as it says and then getting it right.

And yes – I found my solution to my goal – not by banging on with the same mistake being repeated but by understanding:

1. what doesn’t work.

2. how the ‘thing’ works.

3. working with the thing on its terms.

So the function I needed in Formcalc was the ‘eval’ function. Once I opened the command: eval(cell1+cell3-cell5) etc it worked. It was there I could stick in the + and –  signs.  But it doesn’t like sum(cell1+cell3-cell5) or cell1+cell3-cell5.  It seems so simple now, but of course when I’m starting off I didn’t know that the eval function existed.

Anyhow, I’m real pleased with myself for getting this sorted. It means I’m unstuck, can build all sorts of wonderful new forms.


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