Around 1994, I specified in a document that the term “Roundsheet” was my own property. It designated ideas I had been developing about an alternative to the two-dimensional spreadsheet. Subsequently, in 2010, I came up with some more thoughts on the concept. Now, some 19 years after I had the idea, I’m going to try and nail down a specification and maybe try and get a prototype built.
After reviewing my previous writings on the subject, I concluded that the obvious next step was to tighten up the 2010 document particularly with respect to the top level components, and to define explicitly what types of data the Roundsheet could handle. The result is a revised, very high-level, specification (4. Roundsheet Spec v0.4 – 24Mar2013) which provides a reasonably complete and internally consistent description of the Roundsheet functions. Three short illustrations of its use have also been included.
In considering what to do next, two aspects seem to be key – protecting the intellectual property, and getting the tool built. From what I have heard about applying for Patents, it sounds very time consuming and expensive and only worthwhile if you genuinely expect to be able to capitalise on the ideas. I don’t have such confidence, therefore I am reconciled to just including a statement asserting my ownership and rights to a royalty percentage, on my writings on the subject.
Regarding getting the tool built, I am not going to attempt it myseIf as I don’t have the necessary current knowledge of platforms and programming languages – and am not prepared to spend huge chunks of my time acquiring the expertise. So, if it is to be built at all, I will need to find someone else to do it. First, however, it seems sensible to get some other opinions as to its viability and usefulness to assess if it’s worth trying to persuade someone to invest their time on it. With this in mind I’m going to send this latest spec to a few people and ask their views.