Human-Computer Interaction Institute
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


A Spreadsheet Model for Using Web Servivces
and Creating Data-Driven Applications

Keey Shih-Ping Chang

April 2016

Ph.D. Thesis


Keywords: Spreadsheets, web services, data-driven applications, web applications, streaming data, hierarchical data, end-user programming, end-user software engineering (EUSE), Natural Programming

Web services have made many kinds of data and computing services available. However, to use web services often requires significant programming efforts and thus limits the people who can take advantage of them to only a small group of skilled programmers. In this dissertation, I will present a tool called Gneiss that extends the spreadsheet model to support four challenging aspects of using web services: programming two-way data communications with web services, creating interactive GUI applications that use web data sources, using hierarchical data, and using live streaming data. Gneiss contributes innovations in spreadsheet languages, spreadsheet user interfaces and interaction techniques to allow programming tasks that currently require writing complex, lengthy code to instead be done using familiar spreadsheet mechanisms. Spreadsheets are arguably the most successful and popular data tools among people of all programming levels. This work advances the use of spreadsheets to new domains and could benefit a wide range of users from professional programmers to end-user programmers.

151 pages

Thesis Committee:
Brad M. Myers (Chair)
Niki Kittur
John Zimmerman
Margaret M. Burnett (Oregon State University)

Anind K. Dey, Head, Human-Computer Interaction Institute
Andrew W. Moore, Dean, School of Computer Science

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