Breviz: Spreadsheet Visualization and Quality Analysis - Talk by Felienne Hermans

Date Thu, 2011-09-01 11:00
Location Campus Middelheim room G006


Felienne Hermans


Felienne Hermans is a PhD student and an entrepreneur in the field of spreadsheet visualization. She started her PhD in 2008 and has since published spreadsheet papers at ECOOP 2010, ICSE 2011 and Eusprig 2011. In 2010 Felienne was one of the founders of spreadsheet spinoff Infotron, that uses the algorithms developed during the PhD project to analyze spreadsheet quality for large companies.


Breviz: Spreadsheet Visualization and Quality Analysis


Thanks to their flexibility and intuitive programming model, spreadsheets are widely used in industry, often for business-critical applications. Similar to software developers, professional spreadsheet users demand support for maintaining and transferring their spreadsheets. In this talk we will explain Breviz, a tool that visualizes spreadsheets as leveled dataflow diagrams, showing users all worksheet in a spreadsheet and the data that is flowing between them.

When developing Breviz, we first studied the problems and information needs of professional spreadsheet users by means of a survey conducted at a large financial company. Based on these needs, we then created an approach that extracts this information from spreadsheets and presents it in a compact and easy to understand way, using leveled dataflow diagrams. Our approach comes with three different views on the dataflow and allows the user to analyze the dataflow diagrams in a top-down fashion also using slicing techniques.

To evaluate the usefulness of the proposed approach, we conducted a series of interviews as well as nine case studies in an industrial setting. The results of the evaluation clearly indicate the demand for and usefulness of our approach to ease the understanding of spreadsheets. In addition to these results we will discuss new applications of our dataflow extraction system, such as the their use to assess spreadsheet quality and help detect anomalies in spreadsheets.


Attending the talk is free of charge, but if you are planning to attend please send an e-mail to Quinten Soetens ( so that we have an idea of the amount of participants. Feel free to forward this invitation to anyone you think may be interested.