Spreadsheets are models too – Richard Paige

Rich’s idea is that spreadsheets are models too. The benefits of this could be:

  • Use of generic tools (validation, transformation, merging) on spreadsheets
  • People’s view of models will be broader than just EMF
  • Support for large legacy models that will never be re-engineered (this is more common than you think, says RIch)
  • Synergy with existing skills (people will waaaay more likely be used to working with spreadsheets than with EMF)

Sometimes a spreadsheet is all that is needed, EMF or DSLs are just overkill.

Okay, we want this. So how?

Rich has so far provided a spreadsheet driver for MDE systems for querying, validation, merging etc. In other words, spreadsheets are just  as other models in the same process.

Spreadsheet -> model
Worksheet -> type
Column -> property
Row -> Model element

Obviously, this does not work in general, so you can annotate your spreadsheets if you want to improve model extraction. If you like this, the drivers for Google Spreadsheet are on Google Code.