Onward! 2016
Sun 30 October - Fri 4 November 2016 Amsterdam, Netherlands
co-located with SPLASH 2016
Thu 3 Nov 2016 15:40 - 16:05 at Matterhorn 2 - Session 3 Chair(s): Hidehiko Masuhara

Spreadsheets offer many advantages as the computational and data-storage engine for applications that are authored by end users. Paradoxically, however, their main failing in this regard is their computational model. Despite being used in almost all cases to represent data that is essentially relational (with some hierarchical structuring), the spreadsheet model treats the two-dimensional grid as largely unstructured, with formulas linking cells in an ad hoc way.

This paper reports on a quest to rethink the spreadsheet model. The model we propose supports not only conventional flat tables, but also nested variable-size lists and object references. It includes a formula language suited to the data model and procedures to specify updates.

The model has been implemented in a tool called Object Spreadsheets, which is intended for the development of data-centric web applications. We describe several example applications we built using the tool to demonstrate its applicability.