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HaskCell: Experiments with Purely Functional Spreadsheets


Spreadsheet programs are one of the most widespread informationprocessing tools used by end-users. Their importance lies not only intheir extensive use by people with little or no knowledge ofprogramming but because of their relevance as a decision-making tool byexecutives in many companies. In spite of this long-term success,many studies have found plenty of pitfalls that make spreadsheetswidely faulty, hence potentially leading to risky decisions.Because of these problems several analysis tools have been proposed tohelp find errors easily.In this project we present a different approach, more oriented toprevent the appearance of errors through a change in the way usersinteract with them. We focus on the _declarative_ essence ofspreadsheets and propose to refound them on the grounds of modernfunctional programming languages.Our tool, _HaskCell_, uses a subset of _Haskell_ as theexpression language for its cells and takes advantage of its rich typesystem to support a safer way of spreadsheet programming that preventsthe appearance of certain errors and help understanding the meaning ofprograms, as new data types can be introduced from cell aggregates.Haskell is also used for defining reusable, user-defined functionsand external modules.We show a working prototype incorporating the ideas above and pointtowards new features based on advanced functional programmingtechnologies.

Palabras Clave:

End User Programming - functional programming - Haskell - Spreadsheets





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