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The Spreadsheet Interface: A Basis for End User Programming

Nardi, Bonnie A.; Miller, James R.



Abstract: This paper describes the properties of the user interface of spreadsheet programs and the ways in which spreadsheets support users with little or no formal training in programming. We analyze the spreadsheet formula language through which users express mathematical relations and the tabular grid which permits users to view, structure and display data. Based on our analysis of the formula language and the tabular grid, we argue that user programming environments should be characterized by (1) a small number of carefully chosen, high-level, task-specific operations that are sufficient for building applications within a restricted domain, and (2) a strong visual format for structuring and presenting data.

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