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Using Information Fragments to Answer the Question Developers Ask
Thomas Fritz and Gail C. Murphy.

To appear in the Proceedings of the 32th International Conference on Software Engineering, May 2010.

PDF

Abstract

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.


© ACM, (2010). This is the authorís version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version will be published in Proceedings of ICSE'10, PUBLICATION, {VOL#, ISS#, (DATE)} http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/{nnnnnn.nnnnnn}.