PPIG 2010 - 22nd Annual Workshop
Perceived Self-Efficacy and APIs
John M. Daughtry III, John M. Carroll
Abstract: Application program interface (API) use and design is critical, non-optional, and cross-cutting in the construction of modern software systems. However, only recently has the explicit study of API design process and API designs been initiated from the perspective of usability, and little is known with respect to how various forms of information about an API aids programmers in the use of an API. In this paper, we present findings from our exploration of perceived self-efficacy (PSE) for API use. First, we describe the development of a novel PSE instrument that focuses on the task of using an API. Second, we evaluate the validity and sensitivity of the instrument with respect to changes in the information given professional programmers about an API. To accomplish this goal, we articulate and utilize two complementary forms of API documentation grounded in scenario-based design. Through this work, we demonstrate the validity of the evaluation tool and raise questions about the perceived value developers place on information about an API and its intended use.