Spreadsheets are the most popular live programming environments, but they are also notoriously fault-prone. One reason for this is that users actively rely on copy-paste to make up for the lack of abstraction mechanisms. Adding abstraction however, introduces indirection and thus cognitive distance. In this paper we propose an alternative: copy-paste tracking. Tracking copies that spreadsheet users make, allows them to directly edit copy-pasted formulas, but instead of changing only a single instance, the changes will be propagated to all formulas copied from the same source. As a result, spreadsheet users will enjoy the benefits of abstraction without its drawbacks.
Additional Metadata
Keywords spreadsheets, live programming, origin tracking
THEME Software (theme 1)
Conference International Conference on Live Coding
Hermans, F, & van der Storm, T. (2015). Copy-paste Tracking: Fixing Spreadsheets Without Breaking Them.