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Facilitating ad-hoc abstraction to improve end-user programmed decision support tools

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1 Author(s)
Thomas, H. ; DPI&F, Bundaberg, QLD

Spreadsheets are the tool of choice amongst agricultural researchers for creating decision support tools. Spreadsheet programming is however constrained by its inherent simplicity. Spreadsheet cells combine the functions of user interface, program logic and data storage, making it difficult for end-users to conceive of ways to isolate user data. In this paper I describe the implementation of an ad-hoc abstraction mechanism in a spreadsheet application that links named cells to scenarios so user data can be isolated and saved in separate files. The strength of this solution is the simple notion that data will find its way back to the original cells, regardless of how the spreadsheet is changed. This allows spreadsheets to be upgraded in the field without the need to re-enter user data.

Published in:

Industrial Technology, 2009. ICIT 2009. IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

10-13 Feb. 2009