Notes on the Empirical Studies of Programmers, Seventh Workshop

April 26, 2009

An Experimental Evaluation of Quality Guidelines on the Maintainability of Object-Oriented Design Documents

Lionel C. Briand, Christian Bunse, John W. Daly

A system designed with proper coupling, cohesion, clarity, generalisation-specialisation depth and simplicity is easier to maintain.

I liked the explicit presentation of the experiment in this paper.

A Bug’s Eye View of Immediate Visual Feedback in Direct-Manipulation Programming Systems

Curtis Cook, Margaret Burnett, Derrick Boom

Live presentation of results helps with debugging some bug types but not all in a direct-manipulation visual programming environment.

Programming Complex Objects in Spreadsheets: An Empirical Study Comparing Textual Formula Entry with Direct Manipulation and Gestures

Herkimer J. Gottfried, Margaret M. Burnett

A graphical representation of new data type creation from a template was superior to a textual representation in speed, correctness and user comfort.

Using a Fine-Grained Comparative Evaluation Technique to Understand and Design Software Visualization Tools

Paul Mulholland

We should carefully evaluate why a tool works or doesn’t, and use this detailed information to inform the design of new tools. The new tools will be superior.

A Glimpse of Expert Programmers’ Mental Imagery

Marian Petre, Alan F. Blackwell

There are some commonalities in the way a few expert programmers describe their mental imagery of a program.

An Empirical Study of Novice Program Comprehension in the Imperative and Object-Oriented Styles

Vennila Ramalingam, Susan Wiedenbeck

Given comparable imperative and object-oriented programs, novices understand the imperative program better. However, this understanding is at the program level. They have a better understanding of the domain from the object-oriented program.

A Study of End-User Programming for Geographic Information Systems

Carol Traynor and Marian G. Williams

Programming by demonstration can work for GIS software.

Program Understanding Behavior During Debugging of Large-Scale Software

Anneliese von Mayrhauser, A. Marie Vans

A lack of either domain experience or familiarity with software will push down the level of abstraction for program comprehension. n=4

Visual Programming: The Outlook from Academia and Industry

K. N. Whitley and Alan F. Blackwell

At the time of publication, researchers were speculative and optimistic about visual programming. Professional programmers (non-users of VP) were sceptical of visual programming. Users of one VP environment were convinced of the benefits.

A Study of Program Entry Time Predictions for Application-Specific Visual and Textual Languages

Marian G. Williams, J. Nicholas Buehler

Programming time can be split into thinking time and program entry time. The authors created an accurate model of program entry time for both a graphical programming environment and a textual one. This model can be used to protect future research from the confounding effects of program entry time differences.

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