Using Visualization to Foster Object-Oriented Program Understanding
Jerding, Dean Frederick
Stasko, John T.
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Software development and maintenance tasks rely on and can benefit from an increased level of program understanding. Object-oriented programming languages provide features which facilitate software maintenance, yet the same features often make object-oriented programs more diffcult to understand. We support the use of program visualization techniques to foster object-oriented program comprehension. This paper identifies ways that visualization can increase program understanding, and presents a means for characterizing both static and dynamic aspects of an object-oriented program. We then describe the implementation of a prototypical tool for visualizing the execution of C++ programs. Based on this work, we define a framework for the visualization of object-oriented software which requires little or no programmer intervention and provides a mechanism which allows users to focus quickly on particular aspects of the program.