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Using information fragments to answer the questions developers ask

By Thomas Fritz and Gail C. Murphy


Each day, a software developer needs to answer a variety of questions that require the integration of different kinds of project information. Currently, answering these questions, such as “What have my co-workers been doing?”, is tedious, and sometimes impossible, because the only support available requires the developer to manually link and traverse the information step-by-step. Through interviews with eleven professional developers, we identified 78 questions developers want to ask, but for which support is lacking. We introduce an information fragment model (and prototype tool) that automates the composition of different kinds of information and that allows developers to easily choose how to display the composed information. In a study, 18 professional developers used the prototype tool to answer eight of the 78 questions. All developers were able to easily use the prototype to successfully answer 94 % of questions in a mean time of 2.3 minutes per question

Topics: Programming tools
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:
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