PPIG 2002 - 14th Annual Workshop
Class Libraries: A Challenge for Programming Usability Research
Kerry Rodden, Alan Blackwell
Abstract: In previous collaboration with the Visual Studio usability team at Microsoft, we have learned that the Microsoft Foundation Classes are considered central to the usability of their products. There is little research in psychology of programming that is directly relevant to the design and evaluation of class libraries, despite the fact that they clearly occupy a central place among the cognitive challenges faced by professional programmers. Research into software reuse has considered some of the human factors in deploying class libraries. But the MFC library, despite being (probably) the most widely reused code in the world at present, has rather different problems from those addressed in reuse research. In this paper we analyse the nature of those problems, identify promising research avenues, and propose a challenge for future research in evaluating and improving the usability of class libraries.