Improving Spreadsheet Test Practices

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In this talk, I investigate the current test practices of spreadsheet users, and present a plugin that helps support and improve them.

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Improving Spreadsheet Test Practices

  1. 1. Improving Spreadsheet Test Practices Felienne Hermans (@felienne)
  2. 2. Improving Spreadsheet Test Practices Felienne Hermans (@felienne) In this slidedeck I’ll present my research on applying test practices to spreadsheets.
  3. 3. Improving Spreadsheet Test Practices Felienne Hermans (@felienne) In this slidedeck I’ll present my research on applying test practices to spreadsheets. First of all? Why would you want or need to test a spreadsheet? It’s just that simple thing that you use to keep track of your morgage and that’s not rocket science.
  4. 4. My vision on this is that spreadsheets are actually software.
  5. 5. My vision on this is that spreadsheets are actually software. And with that, I do not mean that a spreadsheet program is a piece of software. Rather, I claim that the act of making a spreadsheet is similar to building a piece of code.
  6. 6. My vision on this is that spreadsheets are actually software. And with that, I do not mean that a spreadsheet program is a piece of software. Rather, I claim that the act of making a spreadsheet is similar to building a piece of code. There are three reasons for this:
  7. 7. 1) Structuring data is a programming act
  8. 8. 1) Structuring data is a programming act When spreadsheet users think about what data to put where, for instance in what table or worksheet, they are actually modeling their domain, just as programmers do when they decide what methods to put in what class.
  9. 9. 2) Formulas are Turing complete
  10. 10. 2) Formulas are Turing complete I built a Turing machinewith spreadsheet formulas only to prove my point: http://www.felienne.com/?p=2974
  11. 11. 3) Spreadsheet suffer from ‘software’ problems
  12. 12. 3) Spreadsheet suffer from ‘software’ problems
  13. 13. 3) Spreadsheet suffer from ‘software’ problems
  14. 14. 3) Spreadsheet suffer from ‘software’ problems
  15. 15. Knowing that spreadsheets are software, does that help us?
  16. 16. In my dissertation, I researched spreadsheet smells and refactoring
  17. 17. Now I wonder: should we also test them?
  18. 18. Testing seems to work for software
  19. 19. But how do we get spreadsheet users to test?
  20. 20. We were looking the wrong way!
  21. 21. We were looking the wrong way! Spreadsheet users are great testers
  22. 22. These types of tests are very common
  23. 23. of spreadsheets contain such tests
  24. 24. of spreadsheets contain such tests
  25. 25. average ‘coverage’ of the test formulas
  26. 26. What can we do to improve this?
  27. 27. We built Expector, an Excel plugin that detects existing test formulas
  28. 28. This view helps users understand the ‘testedness’ of their sheets
  29. 29. Improving Spreadsheet Test Practices Felienne Hermans (@felienne)

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