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Beyond pretty pictures: Examining the benefits of code visualization for Open Source newcomers

TitleBeyond pretty pictures: Examining the benefits of code visualization for Open Source newcomers
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsPark, Y., and C. Jensen
Conference Name5th IEEE International Workshop on Visualizing Software for Understanding and Analysis (VISSOFT)
Pagination3 - 10
Date Published09/2009
PublisherIEEE
Conference LocationEdmonton, AB, Canada
ISBN Number978-1-4244-5027-5
Abstract

Joining an Open Source project is not easy. Newcomers often experience a steep learning curve dealing with technical complexity, lack of domain knowledge, and the amount of project information available for starters. This paper looks at the information needs of newcomers and the potential benefits of information visualization in supporting newcomers through a controlled experiment. Our results show that current OSS environments and development tools are lacking in support for the information needs of newcomers, and that existing visualization tools and techniques can help. We also discuss the potential problems and pitfalls associated with the inappropriate use of code visualization tools.

DOI10.1109/VISSOF.2009.5336433