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Article
Publication date: 28 October 2014

Pak-Lok Poon, Fei-Ching Kuo, Huai Liu and Tsong Yueh Chen

An alarming number of spreadsheet faults have been reported in the literature, indicating that effective and easy-to-apply spreadsheet testing techniques are not available…

Abstract

Purpose

An alarming number of spreadsheet faults have been reported in the literature, indicating that effective and easy-to-apply spreadsheet testing techniques are not available for “non-technical,” end-user programmers. The purpose of this paper is to alleviate the problem by introducing a metamorphic testing (MT) technique for spreadsheets.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper discussed four common challenges encountered by end-user programmers when testing a spreadsheet. The MT technique was then discussed and how it could be used to solve the common challenges was explained. An experiment involving several “real-world” spreadsheets was performed to determine the viability and effectiveness of MT.

Findings

The experiment confirmed that MT is highly effective in spreadsheet fault detection, and yet MT is a general technique that can be easily used by end-user programmers to test a large variety of spreadsheet applications.

Originality/value

The paper provides a detailed discussion of some common challenges of spreadsheet testing encountered by end-user programmers. To the best of the authors knowledge, the paper is the first that includes an empirical study of how effective MT is in spreadsheet fault detection from an end-user programmer's perspective.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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