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Birgit Hofer, Dietmar Jannach, Thomas Schmitz, Kostyantyn Shchekotykhin, & Franz Wotawa


In recent years, researchers have developed a number of techniques to assist the user in locating a fault within a spreadsheet. The evaluation of these approaches is often based on spreadsheets into which artificial errors are injected.

In this position paper, we summarize different shortcomings of these forms of evaluations and sketch possible remedies including the development of a publicly available spreadsheet corpus for benchmarking as well as user and field studies to assess the true value of the proposed techniques.


Challenges common to all fault localization and correction (debugging) processes:

  • No standard benchmarks exist for spreadsheet debugging methods, preventing the direct comparison of spreadsheet debugging approaches.
  • Given a user-debugger interface, what input or interaction can realistically be expected from the user?
  • Do automated debugging techniques actually help the developer?


2014, First Workshop on Software Engineering Methods in Spreadsheets, July

Full article

Tool-supported fault localization in spreadsheets: Limitations of current research practice