Spreadsheet-Based Orchestration for Describing and Automating Web Information Access Processes

Spreadsheet-Based Orchestration for Describing and Automating Web Information Access Processes

Jun Fujima (Hokkaido University, Japan), Shohei Yoshihara (Hokkaido University, Japan) and Yuzuru Tanaka (Hokkaido University, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-851-7.ch003
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Abstract

A spreadsheet is one of the most widely used applications by office workers. It provides an end user, with a programming environment. In this chapter, the authors propose a spreadsheet-based environment in which end users can orchestrate multiple Web applications. First, the authors provide a method for embedding various Web resources in spreadsheet cells as visual components that can be reused on the spreadsheet. Second, they propose a method by which these embedded components can be accessed by using special functions via the formula language. Third, they present these special functions to describe loop structures. Their approach enables users to define the complex coordination of multiple Web applications on the spreadsheet using its formula language. Further, they describe their prototype implementation, which uses Microsoft Excel and its user interface support to utilize the embedded Web applications.
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Nowadays, Web users can access many types of Web resources. Such resources may be not only static HTML documents but also RDF Site Summary (RSS), Web applications, and Web services. RSS is a general term for certain document formats that deliver updates on various Web sites, such as those concerning news or blogs. Web applications and Web services provide various types of processing or services such as database access, search engines, shopping, currency conversion, and so on. Users can utilize these resources when performing their daily tasks.

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