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Designing electronic reference documentation for software component libraries
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science, MDALAB - Human Computer Interfaces. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2003 (English)In: Journal of Systems and Software, ISSN 0164-1212, Vol. 68, no 1, 65-75 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Contemporary software development is based on global sharing of software component libraries. As a result, programmers spend much time reading reference documentation rather than writing code, making library reference documentation a central programming tool. Traditionally, reference documentation is designed for textbooks even though it may be distributed online. However, the computer provides new dimensions of change, evolution, and adaptation that can be utilized to support efficiency and quality in software development. What is difficult to determine is how the electronic text dimensions best can be utilized in library reference documentation.

This article presents a study of the design of electronic reference documentation for software component libraries. Results are drawn from a study in an industrial environment based on the use of an experimental electronic reference documentation (called Dynamic Javadoc or DJavadoc) used in a real-work situation for 4 months. The results from interviews with programmers indicate that the electronic library reference documentation does not require adaptation or evolution on an individual level. More importantly, reference documentation should facilitate the transfer of code from documentation to source files and also support the integration of multiple documentation sources.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 68, no 1, 65-75 p.
Keyword [en]
Electronic documentation, Programming, Reference documentation
National Category
Engineering and Technology Computer Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13490DOI: 10.1016/S0164-1212(02)00136-XOAI: diva2:20858
Available from: 2002-10-20 Created: 2002-10-20 Last updated: 2010-12-14
In thesis
1. Library Communication Among Programmers Worldwide
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Library Communication Among Programmers Worldwide
2002 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Programmers worldwide share components and jointly develop components on a global scale in contemporary software development. An important aspect of such library-based programming is the need for technical communication with regard to libraries – library communication. As part of their work, programmers must discover, study, and learn as well as debate problems and future development. In this sense, the electronic, networked media has fundamentally changed programming by providing new mechanisms for communication and global interaction through global networks such as the Internet. Today, the baseline for library communication is hypertext documentation. Improvements in quality, efficiency, cost and frustration of the programming activity can be expected by further developments in the electronic aspects of library communication.

This thesis addresses the use of the electronic networked medium in the activity of library communication and aims to discover design knowledge for communication tools and processes directed towards this particular area. A model of library communication is provided that describes interaction among programmer as webs of interrelated library communities. A discussion of electronic, networked tools and processes that match such a model is also provided. Furthermore, research results are provided from the design and industrial valuation

of electronic reference documentation for the Java domain. Surprisingly, the evaluation did not support individual adaptation (personalization). Furthermore, global library communication processes have been studied in relation to open-source documentation and user-related bug handling. Open-source documentation projects are still relatively uncommon even in open-source software projects. User-related Open-source does not address the passive behavior users have towards bugs. Finally, the adaptive authoring process in electronic reference documentation is addressed and found to provide limited support for expressing the electronic, networked dimensions of authoring requiring programming skill by technical writers.

Library communication is addressed here by providing engineering knowledge with regards to the construction of practical electronic, networked tools and processes in the area. Much of the work has been performed in relation to Java library communication and therefore the thesis has particular relevancefor the object-oriented programming domain. A practical contribution of the work is the DJavadoc tool that contributes to the development of reference documentation by providing adaptive Java reference documentation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2002. 199 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 758
software development, library-based programming, library communication, hypertext documentation, Open-source, bug handling, object-oriented programming
National Category
Computer Science
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-4982 (URN)91-737-3349-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2002-09-27, Visionen, Hus B, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
On the day of the public defence the title of article I was: Designing Electronic Library Reference Documentation.Available from: 2002-10-20 Created: 2002-10-20 Last updated: 2012-01-25Bibliographically approved

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Berglund, Erik
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