Spreadsheet Implementation Technology
Spreadsheets are used daily by millions of people for tasks that range from organizing a list of addresses to carrying out complex economic simulations. Spreadsheet programs are easy to learn and convenient to use because they have a clear visual model and a simple efficient underlying computational model. Yet although the basic spreadsheet model could be extended, improved, or otherwise experimented with in many ways, there is no coherently designed, reasonably efficient open source spreadsheet implementation that is a suitable platform for such experiments. This book fills the gap, teaching users how to experiment with and implement innovative spreadsheet functionality and introducing two software platforms for doing so. Along the way, it draws on and illustrates software technologies and computer science topics that range from object-oriented programming to compiler technology.
Spreadsheet Implementation Technology surveys a wide range of information about spreadsheets drawn from user experience, the scientific literature, and patents. After summarizing the spreadsheet computation model and the most important challenges for efficient recalculation, the book describes Corecalc, a core implementation of essential spreadsheet functionality suitable for practical experiments, and Funcalc, an extension of Corecalc that allows users to define their own functions without extraneous programming languages or loss of efficiency. It also shows the advantages of automatic function specialization and offers a user’s manual for Funcalc. The Corecalc and Funcalc software is downloadable free of charge.
About the Author
Peter Sestoft is a Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Java Precisely and C# Precisely, both published by the MIT Press.
"This book is the first serious book on spreadsheet implementation. It’s accessible, yet thorough and deep--an ideal resource for people who need to implement spreadsheets or want to experiment with different options and new functionalities."—Margaret Burnett, Professor of Computer Science, Oregon State University; architect of the Forms/3 and FAR research spreadsheet systems
"This book is the first comprehensive guide on how to build an entire spreadsheet system. It offers insight into the deep technical details of a spreadsheet, like parsing and formula evaluation, while remaining easy to understand for a broad software engineering audience."—Felienne Hermans, Delft University of Technology; author of Analyzing and Visualizing Spreadsheets
"Thanks to Peter Sestoft, we now have two open source platforms that allow us to experiment with basic, advanced, and new innovative implementation concepts of spreadsheets."—Martin Pinzger, Professor of Software Engineering and Spreadsheet Researcher, University of Klagenfurt