Exercises in Programming Style–Spreadsheet

NOTE : read the rest of the series, or check out the source code.

If you enjoy read­ing these exer­cises then please buy Crista’s book to sup­port her work.

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Fol­low­ing on from the last post, we will look at the Spreadsheet style today.

 

Style 26 – Spreadsheet

Constraints

  • The problem is modeled like a spreadsheet, with columns of data and formulas.
  • Some data depends on other data according to formulas. When data changes, the dependent data also changes automatically.

 

Since we’re modelling the problem like a spreadsheet, let’s first define a few type alias to help us establish our domain language.

  • a column is referenced by a string – e.g. column “A”, “B”, “C”, and so on
  • a column can have explicit values, or a formula
  • a formula references one or more other columns and uses their data to calculate the display value for the column

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We can model a Column with a union type, where a column is:

a) given explicit values; or

b) given a formula, and its display value is calculated from that formula.

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A Spreadsheet is a collection of columns, whose value can be retrieved or updated using a ColumnRef, e.g.

let spreadsheet = Spreadsheet()

spreadsheet.[“A”] <- Choice1Of2 [| “hello”; “world” |]

let columnA = spreadsheet.[“A”] // [| “hello”; “world” |]

Note that our custom indexer accepts a Choice<DisplayValue, Formula> in its setter instead of a Column. I made this decision because Column.Formula needs both the Formula and its calculated DisplayValue, and here it shouldn’t be the caller’s responsibility to exercise the formula and calculate its DisplayValue.

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After a column’s value is updated, we’ll recalculate the DisplayValue of all the columns in the Spreadsheet. This is a naive approach, but sufficient for the task at hand.

During this step, we’ll need to recursively evaluate the DisplayValue of the columns, sometimes a column might be evaluated multiple times if it’s referenced by several formulae. Again, there’s room for optimization here by caching previously calculated values.

Style26_04

 

Next, we’ll start inputting data into our Spreadsheet.

To make it easier to work with the Choice<DisplayValue, Formula> type, let’s add two helper functions.

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We’ll leave column A and B blank for now.

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Column C will use the data from Column A (all words) and Column B (stop words) to calculate all the non-stop words.

Column D will contain all the distinct words from Column C (non-stop words).

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Column E references both Column C (non-stop words) and Column D (distinct non-stop words), and counts the frequency for each of these words.

An important detail to note here is that, positionally, each count in Column E is aligned with the corresponding word in Column D.Style26_08

Column F is where we’ll store the output of the program.

Because Column D (unique non-stop words) and Column E (counts) are positionally aligned, so we can use Array.zip to combine the two columns to calculate a sorted array of word frequencies.

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Now that all the columns are set up, we can go back and input the text from Pride and Prejudice and the list of stop words into Column A and B respectively.

Doing so will trigger the DisplayValue of all the other columns to be recalculated.

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Finally, we’ll take the top 25 rows from Column F and print them to complete our program.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s style, apologies for the lack of updates the last two weeks, I have been busy working out some stuff on a personal front. I’ll resume the two posts per week routine, which means we should finish this series in just over a month!

 

You can find the source code for this exer­cise here.

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