A grammar for spreadsheet formulas evaluated on two large datasets

Efthimia Aivaloglou, David Hoepelman, Felienne Hermans

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Spreadsheets are ubiquitous in the industrial world and often perform a role similar to other computer programs, which makes them interesting research targets. However, there does not exist a reliable grammar that is concise enough to facilitate formula parsing and analysis and to support research on spreadsheet codebases. This paper presents a grammar for spreadsheet formulas that is compatible with the spreadsheet formula language, is compact enough to feasibly implement with a parser generator, and produces parse trees aimed at further manipulation and analysis. We evaluate the grammar against more than one million unique formulas extracted from the well known EUSES and Enron spreadsheet datasets, successfully parsing 99.99%. Additionally, we utilize the grammar to analyze these datasets and measure the frequency of usage of language features in spreadsheet formulas. Finally, we identify smelly constructs and uncommon cases in the syntax of formulas.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2015 IEEE 15th International Working Conference on Source Code Analysis and Manipulation, SCAM 2015 - Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages121-130
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781467375290
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventIEEE 15th International Working Conference on Source Code Analysis and Manipulation, SCAM 2015 - Bremen, Germany
Duration: 27 Sep 201528 Sep 2015

Publication series

Name2015 IEEE 15th International Working Conference on Source Code Analysis and Manipulation, SCAM 2015 - Proceedings

Conference

ConferenceIEEE 15th International Working Conference on Source Code Analysis and Manipulation, SCAM 2015
Country/TerritoryGermany
CityBremen
Period27/09/1528/09/15

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