iWork Numbers 2008 can’t deal with time durations

A very annoying discovery.

One of the common complaints about the Personal Software Process is that there’s a lot of data-entry and number crunching. The data entry I can’t do too much about (though compare Hackystat), but number crunching is something that computers are supposedly good at.

So this afternoon I spent a few hours running up a simple spreadsheet for the first exercise of ADFSE. The first exercises require students to use the “PSP0”, or Personal Software Process level 0. In PSP0, there are three documents/forms: the time log, the defect log and the project summary.

There are other examples of these forms about on the internet for various tools (mostly Word and Excel), but I wasn’t really satisfied with any of them. In particular, most of them a) slavishly recreated the appearance of the forms in ADFSE and b) don’t do any calculation for you.

So I decided to create my own spreadsheet in Numbers. When it’s a bit more battle-tested I might upload it for others to use.

Naturally it has the benefits of spreadsheets (easy calculation of related variables) and the drawbacks (non-robust data storage, needing a file per-project). But most annoying to me is that Numbers 2008 doesn’t have a notion of a time interval. The PSP time log format is to enter a start time and an end time, then to subtract to determine the number of minutes. Numbers can’t perform this calculation because it has no duration type to express the result of that subtraction into. Apparently Numbers 2009 has something like this, but I don’t feel like spending money on a perhaps.

I might be stuck redoing the spreadsheet in openoffice. Damn yak-shaving.

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