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.