PPIG 2009 - 21st Annual Workshop
An evaluation of the inline source code exploration technique
Michael Desmond, Chris Exton
Abstract: The exploration of source code in modern integrated development environments can lead to disorientation problems due to a lack of visible exploration context as the programmer moves between successive source code displays.
Inline source code exploration is a technology which facilitates the exploration of source code in context. In contrast to explicitly navigating between isolated displays of source code, the programmer fluidly introduces related source code declarations into the context of a primary or focal source code document. The inline approach provides an explicit representation of exploration context between successive source code locations, provides support for the pursuit of exploratory digressions, and allows the programmer to view multiple related source code locations simultaneously with minimal interface adjustment.
In this paper we introduce inline source code exploration and describe a user experiment designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the technique at reducing the level of disorientation experienced by programmers during source code exploration activities.