Publications

Export 60 results:
Sort by: Author Title [ Type  (Desc)] Year
Thesis
Model-Based Spreadsheet Engineering, Cunha, Jácome , March, (2011) Abstractthesis.pdf

Spreadsheets can be viewed as programming languages for non-professional programmers. These so-called ``end-user'' programmers vastly outnumber professional programmers creating millions of new spreadsheets every year. As a programming language, spreadsheets lack support for abstraction, testing, encapsulation, or structured programming. As a result, and as numerous studies have shown, the high rate of production is accompanied by an alarming high rate of errors. Some studies report that up to 90% of real-world spreadsheets contain errors. After their initial creation, many spreadsheets turn out to be used for storing and processing increasing amounts of data and supporting increasing numbers of users over long periods of time, making them complicated systems. An emerging solution to handle the complex and evolving software systems is Model-driven Engineering (MDE). To consider models as first class entities and any software artifact as a model or a model element is one of the basic principles of MDE. We adopted some techniques from MDE to solve spreadsheet problems. Most spreadsheets (if not all) lack a proper specification or a model. Using reverse engineering techniques we are able to derive various models from legacy spreadsheets. We use functional dependencies (a formalism that allow us to define how some column values depend on other column values) as building blocks for these models. Models can be used for several spreadsheet improvements, namely refactoring, safe evolution, migration or even generation of edit assistance. The techniques presented in this work are available under the framework HAEXCEL that we developed. It is composed of online and batch tools, reusable HASKELL libraries and OpenOffice.org extensions. A study with several end-users was organized to survey the impact of the techniques we designed. The results of this study indicate that the models can bring great benefits to spreadsheet engineering helping users to commit less errors and to work faster.

Miscellaneous
Embedding, Evolution, and Validation of Spreadsheet Models in Spreadsheet Systems, Cunha, Jácome, Fernandes João P., Mendes Jorge, and Saraiva João , Number TR-HASLab:01:2014, (2014) Abstracttr_embedding.pdf

This paper proposes and validates a model-driven software engineering technique for spreadsheets. The technique that we envision builds on the embedding of spreadsheet models under a widely used spreadsheet system, so that models and their conforming instances are developed under the same environment. In practice, this convenient environment enhances evolution steps at the model level while the corresponding instance is automatically co-evolved. Finally, we have designed and conducted an empirical study with human users in order to assess our technique in production environments. The results of this study are promising and suggest that productivity gains are realizable under our model-driven spreadsheet development setting.

End Users Productivity in Model-based Spreadsheets: An Empirical Study, Beckwith, Laura, Cunha Jácome, Fernandes João Paulo, and Saraiva João , Number DI-CCTC-10-10, (2010) Abstracttr_study.pdf

Spreadsheets are widely used by end users, and studies have shown that most end-user spreadsheets contain non-trivial errors. To improve end users productivity, recent research proposes the use of a model-driven engineering approach to spreadsheets. In this paper we conduct the first systematic empirical study to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of this approach. A set of spreadsheet end users worked with two different model-based spreadsheets, and we present and analyze the results achieved.

Evolução Controlada de Arquitecturas de Serviços Web, Campinhos, João, Seco João Costa, and Cunha Jácome , (2016) poster6.1.pdfmain.pdf
SSaaPP: SpreadSheets as a Programming Paradigm – Project's Final Report, Abreu, Rui, Alves Tiago, Belo Orlando, Campos José C., Cunha Jácome, Fernandes João Paulo, Martins Pedro, Mendes Jorge, Pacheco Hugo, Peixoto Christophe, Pereira Rui, Perez Alexandre, Ribeiro Hugo, Riboira André, Saraiva João, Silva André, Silva João Carlos, and Visser Joost , Number TR-HASLab:02:2014, (2014) Abstracttr_ssaapp.pdf

This technical report describes the research goals and results of the SpreadSheet as a Programming Paradigm research project. This was a project funded by Funda{\c c}ão para a Ciencia e Tecnologia – FCT: the Portuguese research foundation, under reference FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-010048, that ran from May 2010 till July 2013. This report includes the complete document reporting the results achieved during the project execution, which was submitted to FCT for evaluation on October 2013. It describes the goals of the project, and the different research tasks presenting the deliver- ables of each of them. It also presents the management and result dissemination work performed during the project's execution. The document includes also a self assess- ment of the achieved results, and a complete list of scientific publications describing the contributions of the project. Finally, this document includes the FCT evaluation report.

Type-Safe Evolution of Spreadsheets, Cunha, Jácome, Visser Joost, Alves Tiago, and Saraiva João , Number DI-CCTC-10-09, (2010) Abstracttr_evolution.pdf

Spreadsheets are notoriously error-prone. To help avoid the introduction of errors when changing spreadsheets, models that capture the structure and inter-dependencies of spreadsheets at a conceptual level have been proposed. Thus, spreadsheet evolution can be made safe within the confines of a model. As in any other model/instance setting, evolution may not only require changes at the instance level but also at the model level. When model changes are required, the safety of instance evolution can not be guarded by the model alone. Coupled transformation of models and instances are supported by the 2LT platform and have been applied for transformation of algebraic datatypes, XML schemas, and relational database models. We have extended 2LT to spreadsheet evolution. We have designed an appropriate representation of spreadsheet models, including the fundamental notions of formulæ, references, and blocks of cells. For these models and their instances, we have designed coupled transformation rules that cover specific spreadsheet evolution steps, such as extraction of a block of cells into a separate sheet or insertion of columns in all occurrences of a repeated block of cells. Each model-level transformation rule is coupled with instance level migration rules from the source to the target model and vice versa. These coupled rules can be composed to create compound transformations at the model level that induce compound transformations at the instance level. With this approach, spreadsheet evolution can be made safe, even when model changes are involved.

Journal Article
Analyzing and Classifying Energy Consumption in Android Applications (in preparation), Couto, Marco, Cunha Jácome, Fernandes João P., Pereira Rui, and Saraiva João , (Submitted) paper.pdf
Automatically Inferring Models from Spreadsheets, Cunha, Jácome, Erwig Martin, Mendes Jorge, and Saraiva João , Automated Software Engineering (ASE), Volume 23, Issue 3, p.361-392, (2016) Abstractase14.pdfWebsite

Many errors in spreadsheet formulas can be avoided if spreadsheets are built automatically from higher-level models that can encode and enforce consistency constraints in the generated spreadsheets. Employing this strategy for legacy spreadsheets is difficult, because the model has to be reverse engineered from an existing spreadsheet and existing data must be transferred into the new model-generated spreadsheet. We have developed and implemented a technique that automatically infers relational schemas from spreadsheets. This technique uses particularities from the spreadsheet realm to create better schemas. We have evaluated this technique in two ways: First, we have demonstrated its applicability by using it on a set of real-world spreadsheets. Second, we have run an empirical study with users. The study has shown that the results produced by our technique are comparable to the ones developed by experts starting from the same (legacy) spreadsheet data. Although relational schemas are very useful to model data, they do not fit well spreadsheets as they do not allow to express layout. Thus, we have also introduced a mapping between relational schemas and ClassSheets. A ClassSheet controls further changes to the spreadsheet and safeguards it against a large class of formula errors. The developed tool is a contribution to spreadsheet (reverse) engineering, because it fills an important gap and allows a promising design method (ClassSheets) to be applied to a huge collection of legacy spreadsheets with minimal effort.

Embedding, Evolution, and Validation of Spreadsheet Models in Spreadsheet Systems, Cunha, Jácome, Fernandes João P., Mendes Jorge, and Saraiva João , IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Volume 41, Issue 3, p.241-263, (2014) Abstracttse14.pdfWebsite

This paper proposes and validates a model-driven software engineering technique for spreadsheets. The technique that we envision builds on the embedding of spreadsheet models under a widely used spreadsheet system. This means that we enable the creation and evolution of spreadsheet models under a spreadsheet system. More precisely, we embed ClassSheets, a visual language with a syntax similar to the one offered by common spreadsheets, that was created with the aim of specifying spreadsheets. Our embedding allows models and their conforming instances to be developed under the same environment. In practice, this convenient environment enhances evolution steps at the model level while the corresponding instance is automatically co-evolved. Finally, we have designed and conducted an empirical study with human users in order to assess our technique in production environments. The results of this study are promising and suggest that productivity gains are realizable under our model-driven spreadsheet development setting.

Evaluating Refactorings for Spreadsheet Models, Cunha, Jácome, Fernandes João Paulo, Mendes Jorge, Pereira Rui, Saraiva João Alexandre, and Martins Pedro , Journal of Systems and Software, Volume 118, p.234-250, (2016) Abstractmain.pdf

Software refactoring is a well-known technique that provides transformations on software artifacts with the aim of improving their overall quality.

In the past, we have proposed a catalog of refactoring for spreadsheet models expressed in the ClassSheets modeling language, which allows us to specify the business logic of a spreadsheet in an object-oriented fashion.

Reasoning about spreadsheets at the model level enhances a model-driven spreadsheet environment where a ClassSheet model and its conforming instance (the spreadsheet data) automatically co-evolves after a refactoring is applied at the model level. Our motivation for such research was to improve the model and its conforming instance: the spreadsheet data.

In this paper we define such refactorings using previously proposed evolution steps for models and instances.

We also present an empirical study we designed and conducted in order to confirm our original intuition that these refactorings have a positive impact on end-user productivity, both in terms of effectiveness and efficiency.

The results are presented not only in terms of productivity changes between refactored and non-refactored scenarios, but also in terms of overall user satisfaction, relevance, and experience.

In almost all cases the refactorings indeed improved end-users productivity. Moreover, in most cases users were more engaged with the refactored version of the spreadsheets they worked with.

Model-Based Programming Environments for Spreadsheets, Cunha, Jácome, Mendes Jorge, Saraiva João, and Visser Joost , Journal of Science of Computer Programming (SCP), Volume 96, p.254–275, (2014) Abstractscp14.pdfWebsite

n/a

A Structured Approach to Document Spreadsheets (in preparation), Cunha, Jácome, and Canteiro Diogo , (Submitted) jvlc.pdf
Conference Paper
Automatically Inferring ClassSheet Models from Spreadsheets, Cunha, Jácome, Erwig Martin, and Saraiva João , Proceedings of the 2010 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, Washington, DC, USA, p.93–100, (2010) Abstractvlhcc10.pdf

Many errors in spreadsheet formulas can be avoided if spreadsheets are built automatically from higher-level models that can encode and enforce consistency constraints. However, designing such models is time consuming and requires expertise beyond the knowledge to work with spreadsheets. Legacy spreadsheets pose a particular challenge to the approach of controlling spreadsheet evolution through higher-level models, because the need for a model might be overshadowed by two problems: (A) The benefit of creating a spreadsheet is lacking since the legacy spreadsheet already exists, and (B) existing data must be transferred into the new model-generated spreadsheet. To address these problems and to support the model-driven spreadsheet engineering approach, we have developed a tool that can automatically infer ClassSheet models from spreadsheets. To this end, we have adapted a method to infer entity/relationship models from relational database to the spreadsheets/ClassSheets realm. We have implemented our techniques in the HAEXCEL framework and integrated it with the ViTSL/Gencel spreadsheet generator, which allows the automatic generation of refactored spreadsheets from the inferred ClassSheet model. The resulting spreadsheet guides further changes and provably safeguards the spreadsheet against a large class of formula errors. The developed tool is a significant contribution to spreadsheet (reverse) engineering, because it fills an important gap and allows a promising design method (ClassSheets) to be applied to a huge collection of legacy spreadsheets with minimal effort.

A Bidirectional Model-driven Spreadsheet Environment (Poster/Abstract), Cunha, Jácome, Fernandes João Paulo, Mendes Jorge, and Saraiva João , Proceedings of the 34rd International Conference on Software Engineering, p.1443–1444, (2012) Abstractabstract.pdfposter.pdf

n this extended abstract we present a bidirectional model-driven framework to develop spreadsheets. By being model driven, our approach allows to evolve a spreadsheet model and automatically have the data co-evolved. The bidirectional component achieves precisely the inverse, that is, to evolve the data and automatically obtain a new model to which the data conforms.

Bidirectional Transformation of Model-Driven Spreadsheets, Cunha, Jácome, Fernandes João P., Mendes Jorge, Pacheco Hugo, and Saraiva João , Theory and Practice of Model Transformations, Volume 7307, p.105–120, (2012) Abstracticmt12.pdf

Spreadsheets play an important role in software organizations. Indeed, in large software organizations, spreadsheets are not only used to define sheets containing data and formulas, but also to collect information from different systems, to adapt data coming from one system to the format required by another, to perform operations to enrich or simplify data, etc. In fact, over time many spreadsheets turn out to be used for storing and processing increasing amounts of data and supporting increasing numbers of users. Unfortunately, spreadsheet systems provide poor support for modularity, abstraction, and transformation, thus, making the maintenance, update and evolution of spreadsheets a very complex and error-prone task. We present techniques for model-driven spreadsheet engineering where we employ bidirectional transformations to maintain spreadsheet models and instances synchronized. In our setting, the business logic of spreadsheets is defined by ClassSheet models to which the spreadsheet data conforms, and spreadsheet users may evolve both the model and the data instances. Our techniques are implemented as part of the MDSheet framework: an extension for a traditional spreadsheet system.

Complexity Metrics for Spreadsheet Models, Cunha, Jácome, Fernandes João Paulo, Mendes Jorge, and Saraiva João , The 13th International Conference on Computational Science and Its Applications, Volume 7972, p.459–474, (2013) Abstracticcsa-sq13.pdf

This paper proposes a set of metrics for the assessment of the complexity of models defining the business logic of spreadsheets. This set can be considered the first step in the direction of building a quality standard for spreadsheet models, that is still to be defined. The computation of concrete metric values has further been integrated under a well-established model-driven spreadsheet development environment, providing a framework for the analysis of spreadsheet models under spreadsheets themselves.

Design and Implementation of Queries for Model-Driven Spreadsheets, Cunha, Jácome, Fernandes João Paulo, Mendes Jorge, Pereira Rui, and Saraiva João , Central European Functional Programming School - 5th Summer School, CEFP 2013, Revised Selected Papers, July, Heidelberg, (2014) Abstractdsl13_query.pdf

This paper presents a domain-specific querying language for model-driven spreadsheets. We briefly show the design of the language and present in detail its implementation, from the denormalization of data and translation of our user-friendly query language to a more efficient query, to the execution of the query using Google. To validate our work, we executed an empirical study, comparing QuerySheet with an alternative spreadsheet querying tool, which produced positive results.

Detecting Anomalous Energy Consumption in Android Applications, Carção, Tiago, Couto Marco, Cunha Jácome, Fernandes João Paulo, and Saraiva João , Proceedings of the 18th Brazilian Symposium on Programming Languages, p.77-91, (2014) Abstractsblp14.pdf

The use of powerful mobile devices, like smartphones, tablets and laptops, are changing the way programmers develop software. While in the past the primary goal to optimize software was the run time optimization, nowadays there is a growing awareness of the need to reduce energy consumption. This paper presents a technique and a tool to detect anomalous energy consumption in Android applications, and to relate it directly with the source code of the application. We propose a dynamically calibrated model for energy consumption for the Android ecosystem, and that supports different devices. The model is then used as an API to monitor the application execution: first, we instrument the application source code so that we can relate energy consumption to the application source code; second, we use a statistical approach, based on fault-localization techniques, to localize abnormal energy consumption in the source code.

Discovery-Based Edit Assistance for Spreadsheets, Cunha, Jácome, Saraiva João, and Visser Joost , Proceedings of the 2009 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC), Washington, DC, USA, p.233–237, (2009) Abstractvl-hcc09.pdf

Spreadsheets can be viewed as a highly flexible end-users programming environment which enjoys wide-spread adoption. But spreadsheets lack many of the structured programming concepts of regular programming paradigms. In particular, the lack of data structures in spreadsheets may lead spreadsheet users to cause redundancy, loss, or corruption of data during edit actions. In this paper, we demonstrate how implicit structural properties of spreadsheet data can be exploited to offer edit assistance to spreadsheet users. Our approach is based on the discovery of functional dependencies among data items which allow automatic reconstruction of a relational database schema. From this schema, new formulas and visual objects are embedded into the spreadsheet to offer features for auto-completion, guarded deletion, and controlled insertion. Schema discovery and spreadsheet enhancement are carried out automatically in the background and do not disturb normal user experience.

Embedding and Evolution of Spreadsheet Models in Spreadsheet Systems, Cunha, Jácome, Fernandes João Paulo, Mendes Jorge, and Saraiva João , Proceedings of the 2011 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, Washington, DC, USA, p.186–201, (2011) Abstractvlhcc11.pdf

This paper describes the embedding of ClassSheet models in spreadsheet systems. ClassSheet models are well-known and describe the business logic of spreadsheet data. We embed this domain specific model representation on the (general purpose) spreadsheet system it models. By defining such an embedding, we provide end users a model-driven engineering spreadsheet developing environment. End users can interact with both the model and the spreadsheet data in the same environment. Moreover, we use advanced techniques to evolve spreadsheets and models and to have them synchronized. In this paper we present our work on extending a widely used spreadsheet system with such a model-driven spreadsheet engineering environment.

Embedding Model-Driven Spreadsheet Queries in Spreadsheet Systems, Cunha, Jácome, Fernandes João Paulo, Mendes Jorge, Pereira Rui, and Saraiva João , Proceedings of the 2014 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, Washington, DC, USA, p.151-154, (2014) Abstractvlhcc14.pdf

Spreadsheets are widely used not only to define mathematical expressions, but also to store large and complex data. To query such data is usually a difficult task to perform, usually for end user. In this work we embed the textual query language in the model-driven spreadsheet environment as a spreadsheet itself. The result is an expressive and powerful query environment that has knowledge of the business logic defined by the spreadsheet data (the spreadsheet model) to guide end users constructing correct queries.

An Empirical Study on End-users Productivity Using Model-based Spreadsheets, Beckwith, Laura, Cunha Jácome, Fernandes João Paulo, and Saraiva João , Proceedings of the European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group, July, p.87–100, (2011) Abstracteusprig11.pdf

Spreadsheets are widely used, and studies have shown that most end-user spreadsheets contain non-trivial errors. To improve end-users productivity, recent research proposes the use of a model-driven engineering approach to spreadsheets. In this paper we conduct the first systematic empirical study to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of this approach. A set of spreadsheet end users worked with two different model-based spreadsheets, and we present and analyze here the results achieved.

End-users Productivity in Model-based Spreadsheets: An Empirical Study, Beckwith, Laura, Cunha Jácome, Fernandes João Paulo, and Saraiva João , Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on End-User Development, June, Heidelberg, p.282–288, (2011) Abstractiseud11.pdf

Spreadsheetsarewidelyusedandstudiesshowthatmostoftheexisting ones contain non-trivial errors. To improve end-users productivity, recent research proposes the use of a model-driven engineering approach to spreadsheets. In this paper we conduct the first empirical study to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of this approach. A set of spreadsheet end users worked with two different model-based spreadsheets. We present and analyze here the results achieved.

Energy Efficiency across Programming Languages: How Do Energy, Time, and Memory Relate?, Pereira, Rui, Couto Marco, Ribeiro Francisco, Rua Rui, Cunha Jácome, Fernandes João P., and Saraiva João , 10th ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Software Language Engineering (SLE’17), 23-24 October, Vancouver, Canada, (2017) paper.pdf
ES-SQL: Visually Querying Spreadsheets, Cunha, Jácome, Fernandes João Paulo, Mendes Jorge, Pereira Rui, and Saraiva João , Proceedings of the 2014 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, Washington, DC, USA, p.203–204, (2014) Abstractvlhcc14-td.pdf

This paper presents ES-SQL, an embedded tool for visually constructing queries over spreadsheets. This tool provides an expressive query environment which has knowledge on the business logic of spreadsheets, and by this knowledge it assists the user in defining the intended queries.