Visualization of Exception Handling Constructs to Support Program Understanding

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Title: Visualization of Exception Handling Constructs to Support Program Understanding
Author: Shah, Hina ; Görg, Carsten ; Harrold, Mary Jean
Abstract: This paper presents a new visualization technique for supporting the understanding of exception-handling constructs in Java programs. To understand the requirements for such a visualization, we surveyed a group of software developers, and used the results of that survey to guide the creation of the visualizations. The technique presents the exception-handling information using three views: the quantitative view, the flow view, and the contextual view. The quantitative view provides a high-level view that shows the throw-catch interactions in the program, along with relative numbers of these interactions, at the package level, the class level, and the method level. The flow view shows the type-throw-catch interactions, illustrating information such as which exception types reach particular throw statements, which catch statements handle particular throw statements, and which throw statements are not caught in the program. The contextual view shows, for particular type-throw-catch interactions, the packages, classes, and methods that contribute to that exception-handling construct. We implemented our technique in an Eclipse plugin called EnHanCe and conducted a usability and utility study with participants in industry.
Description: Research areas: Software Engineering and Human-Computer Interaction
Type: Technical Report
Date: 2009
Contributor: Georgia Institute of Technology. College of Computing
Georgia Institute of Technology. School of Computer Science
Georgia Institute of Technology. School of Interactive Computing
Georgia Institute of Technology. GVU Center
Relation: SCS Technical Report ; GT-CS-12-08
Publisher: Georgia Institute of Technology
Subject: Eclipse plugin
Exception handling
Interactive visualization
Multiple views
Program understanding
Software visualization

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