Survey on Code Smell Detection and Use of Visualization Techniques

Dear Software Visualization and Code Smell Researchers,

We believe that you share with us the recognition on the important role that software visualization may play in software quality improvement initiatives. Software refactoring opportunities can be provided by detecting code smells. However, especially in large and complex legacy systems, many code smells can be detected and their influence can be local or spread across the whole system. That is where software visualization can be a great helper, for instance by providing a view of that spreadness, to help decision making on refactoring prioritization.

For over a year, we have been producing a systematic literature review (SLR), that has allowed us to draw some conclusions on the current state of the art in code smells detection and visualization techniques. We are now willing to share those conclusions with you. We would sincerely appreciate if you accept participating in a short online survey (it will take around 15m) to validate these conclusions. In recognition for your effort in fully completing this survey, we will provide you free first-hand access to our SLR. This is the anonymous link to the survey or

Yours sincerely,

José Pereira dos Reis & Fernando Brito e Abreu, ISCTE-IUL, Portugal
Glauco Carneiro, UNIFACS / Laureate International Universities, Brazil
Craig Anslow, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

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VL/HCC 2018 Summary

October 2018 saw the beautiful city of Lisbon, Portugal, play host to the annual IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human Centric Computer (VL/HCC 2018), attracting researchers interested in visual languages, end-user development, computational thinking and more. Crossing the pond from last year’s event in Raleigh, NC, it carried with it a wide range of engaging research from faces old and new that managed to tempt us back in from the glorious sunshine. The conference took place at the Rectorate Building of Universidade Nova de Lisboa (UNL).

The first day was dedicated to the Graduate Consortium, as well as two workshops – the 5th edition of SEMS (Software Engineering Methods in Spreadsheets) and the inaugural DTSHPS (Designing Technologies to Support Human Problem Solving). I was fortunate to attend the latter, organized by Steve Tanimoto and focusing on tools and techniques to help experts tackle “wicked problems” like climate change, disease, or fake news.

Each of the following three days was filled with presentations on a range of topics from improving expert programmers’ efficiency, to enabling novice end-users to act as programmers themselves. A couple of my personal favourites were Islam Almusaly’s touch-screen keyboard for blocks-based programming, redefining one of its core interaction mechanisms with positive results, as well as Nischal Shrestha’s work on helping experienced programmers in one language transfer to another. However, it was Mary Beth Kery who was the deserving winner of the Best Paper award with her work on helping data scientists manage version control.

All three days of the conference also began with an engaging keynote: Jason Hong kicked the conference off with his work on helping developers protect user privacy in their smartphone applications. Geraldine Fitzpatrick gave us a thought-provoking talk on important considerations for representing the ‘human’ in ‘human-centric computing’, with her work investigating systems for care of the elderly putting our well-meaning but misguided assumptions about the ‘human’ into perspective. Finally, Rodrigo Coutinho discussed his experience in bringing the OutSystems visual language into industry, which undoubtedly got a few of us thinking about who we can sell our research to!

Admittedly, personal highlights were the evening events. Tuesday’s reception was a chance to wind down and reflect on the day’s events with a glass of port in hand and musical entertainment from the wonderful TunaMaria. The following evening was the conference banquet, set within the grounds of the stunning Castelo de São Jorge. Between the delicious food, wine, and conversation, it was enough to make me forget about the temptations of industry profits for a while and decide that academic life was pretty bloody good.

This year in VL/HCC 2019 attendees will be back across the water in Memphis, Tennessee, and from my experience of VL/HCC 2018, I would strongly recommend joining them if you get the chance!

Guest Post by Dr Daniel Rough
Postdoc at Abertay University, Scotland
PhD from University of St Andrews, Scotland

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Visualisation Software Engineer – Job

Visualisation Software Engineer – Job

STFC – The Science and Technology Facilities Council – UKRI

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VISSOFT 2019 – Call for Papers

The seventh IEEE Working Conference on Software Visualization (VISSOFT 2019) builds upon the success of the previous five editions of VISSOFT, which in turn followed after six editions of the IEEE International Workshop on Visualizing Software for Understanding and Analysis (VISSOFT) and five editions of the ACM Symposium on Software Visualization (SOFTVIS). In 2019, VISSOFT will again be co-located with ICSME in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Call for Papers

Software visualization is a broad research area whose general goal is to enhance and promote the theory, realization, and evaluation of approaches to visually encode and analyze software systems, including software development practices, evolution, structure, and software runtime behavior. Software visualization is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing on theories and techniques from information visualization and computer graphics and applying these in the software engineering domain.

The VISSOFT conference is principally a venue for publishing and discussing research related to software visualization. VISSOFT brings together a community of researchers from software engineering, information visualization, computer graphics, human-computer interaction, and data science to discuss theoretical foundations, algorithms, techniques, tools, and applications related to software visualization.

This year’s VISSOFT, co-held with ICSME, encourages a variety of submissions that address outstanding challenges in software systems using visualization. This includes technical papers, empirical studies, applications, case studies, and papers that present novel ideas and tools.

Topics of interest include:

  • Innovative visualization and visual analytics techniques for analysis of software engineering data. This includes source code, dependencies, repositories, developer social networks like StackOverflow and GitHub, mobile app reviews, documentation, runtime logs, and DevOps data.
  • Visualization to support software development activities, including design, requirements engineering, program comprehension, software testing, and debugging.
  • Interaction techniques and algorithms for software visualization.
  • Visualization-based techniques in software engineering education.
  • Integration of software visualization tools with development environments.
  • Empirical evaluation of software visualizations, including eye tracking.
  • Industrial experience with using software visualization.
  • Applications of new technologies to enhance software visualization, including virtual reality, augmented reality, gamification, and machine learning.
  • Analytical approaches to understand software-related aspects based on data science concepts

Submission Types

Technical papers:

A technical paper contribution must describe an in-depth and mature research result relevant to software visualization. The content of a technical paper can be at a maximum 10 pages long (including all figures, tables, and appendices). However, the 10 page limit does not include the bibliography, which is limited by two additional pages.

The submission of a video (up to 5 minutes in length) to accompany the paper is highly encouraged to show interaction possibilities. Authors who wish to submit a video can submit the video together with their paper if the size of the video is smaller than 50 MB, otherwise a URL to the video should be provided.

Authors of conditionally accepted papers must revise the paper based on the reviewers’ comments and submit a response letter explaining how the comments are taken into account in the revised paper version. In a second reviewing cycle, the reviewers decide if the paper has been revised accordingly.

After the notification, authors can also submit an artifact (tool, data, model, etc.) or modify their paper to make it acceptable for the NIER/TOOLS track which will have their own call for papers.

Important Dates:
Paper Submission: April 26, 2019
1st Notification about Conditional Acceptance: May 26, 2019
Revised Paper: June 9, 2019
Final Notification: June 16, 2019
Camera-Ready: July 8, 2019
Conference: September 30 – October 1, 2019
Submission link:


Traditionally, technical research papers are published without including any artifacts (such as tools, data, models, videos, etc.), even though the artifacts may serve as crucial and detailed evidence for the quality of the results that the associated paper offers. Following the effort initiated at ESEC/FSE’11, authors of accepted technical papers at VISSOFT 2019 can have their artifacts evaluated by the program committee. Positively evaluated artifacts will be reflected in the paper publication and be formally announced during the conference.

The artifacts of interest (but not limited to) are listed below, if your proposed artifact is not on this list, please email the chairs before submitting.

Software systems (compiled applications and/or source code) that are available for end users and researchers who aim at replicating a study.
Repositories that contain data involved in a study (e.g., logging data, system traces, survey raw data, evaluation results), which are needed to replicate a study.
Given the short time between the acceptance notification and the deadline to submit the artifact, we suggest the authors to start preparing it beforehand.

Finally, for more information about the artifact evaluation process visit

Important Dates:
Artifact Submission: June 16, 2019
Artifact Notification: July 2, 2019

Submission Link:

The artifacts (e.g., systems, data sets, tutorials) are going to be evaluated according to the following points: Completeness, consistency, documented, clarity, availability (placed on a publicly accessible archival repository. A DOI or link to this repository along with a unique identifier for the object is provided).

Data sets: Completeness, consistency, documented
Tutorials: Consistency, clarity
Systems: Functional (artifacts documented, consistent, complete, executable, and include evidence of verification and validation)

NIER/TD Track:

The NIER/TD Track of VISSOFT accepts two types of contributions: NIER (New Ideas and Emerging Results) and Tool Demonstrations (TD). Both NIER and TD contributions have a page limit of 5 (including bibliography).

NIER contributions describe work-in-progress and preliminary exciting results. Authors are encouraged to include open questions and even provocative hypotheses to get early feedback on their research ideas. A sound evaluation is not required for NIER contributions. One of the goals of the NIER Track is to foster collaboration among different research groups.

Tool Demonstrations (TD) describe the design or actual utilization of software visualization tools, with a focus on the architecture of the tool or its use to gain new insights. During the conference, we will organize an informal tool demonstration session where authors of TD papers are requested to demonstrate their tools. The submission may also contain a link to a screencast (e.g., YouTube or Vimeo) to show the interaction possibilities offered by the tool.

Important Dates:
Paper submission date: June 3, 2019
Notification: June 24, 2019
Submission Link:

How to submit

Papers must not exceed 10 pages (including figures and appendices) plus up to 2 pages that contain ONLY references.

Papers must strictly adhere to the two-column IEEE conference proceedings format. Please use the available IEEE Manuscript Templates for Conference Proceedings.

Supplemental material (e.g., video, data, software) that might be helpful for the reviewers can be submitted together with your paper. All material must be included in a single ZIP file. Please note that this supplemental material is independent of the artifact evaluation.

All submissions must be in PDF and must be submitted online by the deadline via the VISSOFT 2019 EasyChair conference management system.

Important Dates

All dates refer to midnight 23:59:59 AoE.

  Technical Papers NIER/TD Track
Paper Submission: May 10, 2019 June 3, 2019
1st Notification about Conditional Acceptance: June 10, 2019  
Revised Paper: June 24, 2019  
Final Notification: July 1, 2019 June 24, 2019
Camera-Ready: July 8, 2019
Artifact Submission: June 16, 2019  
Artifact Notification: July 2, 2019  
Conference Date: September 30 – October 1, 2019
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Google Scholarships for Software Visualization

Google Scholarships for Software Visualization

The research group Visual Software Analytics at Leipzig University takes part in this year’s Google Summer of Code. This is a Google-funded program to promote open source software. As a participant, you work independently on one of the projects offered and receive a scholarship from Google in the amount of $3,000 – $7,000 (depending on your country). The development period is 3 months (27 May – 26 August 2019). For more information, please visit the official website and our organization listing. In order to participate, you must be a student.

You would be working with this kind of hardware,languages and tools.

  • Visualization frameworks: A-Frame, x3d, x3dom, d3
  • Programming languages: Java, Ruby, JavaScript, Xtend, C#
  • Frameworks and tools: React, Ruby on Rails, jQAssistant, Neo4j
  • Hardware: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Microsoft HoloLens

We offer a variety of projects around Getaviz and jQAssistant.
The projects range from classic software development with Java or Ruby, to web development with JavaScript, and up to designing a virtual reality application for HTC Vive. In particular, we are still looking for interested students for the following projects:

  • Facilitation of Ruby Parsing
  • Circle of related elements
  • Magnifiers and Previews
  • User-driven decorative animations
  • Software visualization components
  • Scanner plugins for jQAssistant
  • Interaction Tracking

A complete list of all our projects and a more detailed description can be found

If you are interested, please contact the corresponding mentor and discuss the next steps with him. An application is possible until April 9, 2019 and includes a short cover letter as well as a project plan consisting of tasks and milestones that has been worked out and agreed with your mentor.

We look forward to your application and wish you a successful Google Summer of Code 2019!

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VISSOFT 2018 Summary

IEEE VISSOFT is the most important conference in the field of software visualization. The 6th edition of the VISSOFT working conference took place in Madrid from 18-19 September 2018. We, David Baum and Leonel Merino, were happy to attend VISSOFT again this year. The two-day program contained two keynotes, ten presentations of full technical papers and six presentations about new ideas and emerging results as well as tool demos – and many interesting discussions around them.

This year Helen Purchase opened VISSOFT with her keynote speech on “Experimental Pitfalls”. In an instructive and entertaining lecture she spoke openly about mistakes made in empirical evaluations of information visualizations – and how to avoid them. With her more than 20 years of experiences in empirical evaluations she had a lot of stories to tell, e.g., that user studies are often mentioned in the Future Work section, but are rarely done once the paper is published. Helen showed several examples, in which the future work was carried out and led to surprising results. She shared some tips from her vast experience conducting evaluations, for instance, that evaluations are hard to design and conduct, and that they can always be improved. She also mentioned that usually experiments using within-subjects design lead to more insightful analysis than the more “clean” experiments that use a between-groups design. The take home message of her presentation was: Do user studies and do future work!

Helen Purchase about empirical evaluations in Future Work

Continuing a consistently incremental trend on the use of multiple media to display software visualizations, the topic of the first session was AR, VR, and 3D. Besides our presentations about adopting the city visualization for augmented reality [1] and using the visualization framework Getaviz for visualizing design erosion and architecture quality [2], Martin Misiak from DLR presented IslandViz [3] with a stunning presentation which was held almost completely in immersive virtual reality.

Many presentations focused on the tools that have been developed. For example, [4] RepoVis that improves the exploration of software repositories through full-text search and visualising of the search results and [5] an open source stack to unify heterogenous software artifacts in a graph database as a foundation for software analysis and software visualization. In contrary, Eduardo Faccin Vernier presented a more theoretical paper about dynamic treemap algorithms. He presented the evaluation of 12 well-known algorithms for different use-cases in the context of software evolution visualization with respect to different quality metrics.

Martin Misiak presentign IslandViz in VR and giving informal demo session afterwards.

The second day began with a keynote as well. This time, Aaron Quigley spoke about immersion. He made clear, that immersion does not depend on 3D visualization or virtual reality, but that the “flow state” can be achieved in many ways and for many tasks.

The final sessions focused on quality & architecture and program understanding. Two papers, [6] and [7], focused on the visualization of a multitude of metrics for providing a visual overview over big software systems. Ivan Bacher presented two NIER papers, [8] and [9]. He presented an extended minimap visualization as used by many text editors by enriching it with more structural information and highlighting.

The Most Influential Paper (MIP) award was given to Steven Reiss for his paper “The Paradox of Software Visualization” [10] from 2005. The paper deals with the low usage of software visualization in industry although software visualization seems helpful and logical and many empirical evaluations show, how useful it is. In his lecture, which he gave remotely, Steve made clear, that the problems of software visualization from 2005 are unsolved and still apply 2018. Nevertheless he had to admit that software visualization have been adopted in some cases and that the situation might have been improved over the last decade.

One of the last events of the conference was the presentation of the best paper award. However, the program committee decided to not award a best paper, but instead two papers were given a distinguished paper award. First, the paper “Quantitative Comparison of Dynamic Treemaps for Software Evolution Visualization” [11] from Eduardo Faccin Vernier, Alexandru C. Telea and Joao Comba for their fundamental work on visualization techniques. Second, the paper “Overcoming Issues of 3D Software Visualization through Immersive Augmented Reality” [1] from Leonel Merino, Alexandre Bergel and Oscar Nierstrasz for their comprehensive and well conducted evaluation.

The winners of the distinguished paper award, Eduardo Faccin Vernier (left) and Leonel Merino (right), presented by Mircea Lungu and Andreas Kerren.

All in all, we had a great time at the conference attending the talks and meeting new people. The keynotes were definitely an enrichment for the conference and gave new impulses.

We both look forward to attend the next version of the conference Cleveland, USA. The conference website is already online, check it out:

David Baum & Leonel Merino

David Baum (@naraesk)
PhD student at Leipzig University
Research group “Visual Software Analytics”

Leonel Merino (PhD)
Visualization Research Center (VISUS)
University of Stuttgart


[1] “Overcoming Issues of 3D Software Visualization through Immersive Augmented Reality. Leonel Merino, Alexandre Bergel and Oscar Nierstrasz.
[2] “Visualising Design Erosion: How Big Balls of Mud are Made”. David Baum, Jens Dietrich, Craig Anslow and Richard Müller.
[3] “IslandViz: A Tool for Visualizing Modular Software Systems in Virtual Reality” Martin Misiak, Andreas Schreiber, Arnulph Fuhrmann, Sascha Zur, Doreen Seider and Lisa Nafeie
[4] “RepoVis: Visual Overview and Full-Text Search in Software Repositories”. Johannes Feiner and Keith Andrews.
[5] “Towards an Open Source Stack to Create a Unified Data Source for Software Analysis and Visualization”. Richard Müller, Dirk Mahler, Michael Hunger, Jens Nerche and Markus Harrer.
[6] “Detecting Bad Smells in Software Systems with Linked Multivariate Visualizations”.
Haris Mumtaz, Fabian Beck and Daniel Weiskopf.
[7] “Quality Models Inside Out: Interactive Visualization of Software Metrics by Means of Joint Probabilities”. Maria Ulan, Sebastian Hönel, Rafael Messias Martins, Morgan Ericsson, Welf Löwe, Anna Wingkvist and Andreas Kerren.
[8] “The Code Mini-Map Visualisation: Encoding Conceptual Structures Within Source Code”. Ivan Bacher, Brian Mac Namee and John D. Kelleher.
[9] “Scoped: Evaluating A Composite Visualisation Of The Scope Chain Hierarchy Within Source Code”. Ivan Bacher, Brian Mac Namee and John D. Kelleher.
[10] “The Paradox of Software Visualization”. Steven P. Reiss
[11] “Quantitative Comparison of Dynamic Treemaps for Software Evolution Visualization”. Eduardo Faccin Vernier, Alexandru C. Telea and Joao Comba.

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Workshop on Visual Analytics in Supercomputing and Performance Engineering

International Workshop on Visual Analytics in Supercomputing and Performance Engineering (VASPE ‘19)

Held in conjunction with ICPE ‘19: The 10th ACM/SPEC International Conference on Performance Engineering

Both high performance computing (HPC) and performance engineering (PE) experts are facing the challenge of analyzing, comparing, visualizing, and reasoning about ever increasing volumes of performance-related data. While HPC typically deals with massively parallel simulation codes being executed on supercomputers, PE focuses on distributed, reliable software systems.

Due to the scale of performance-related data and the open-ended nature of analyzing it, visualization (VIS) and data analytics are often the only feasible tools to comprehend, debug, and improve the performance behavior of systems and/or codes. This is becoming ever more important, since the scale of performance-related data keeps rapidly growing. However the research communities in HPC, PE, and VIS are mostly disjunct.

VASPE ‘19 aims at gathering experts from (i) the HPC community, (ii) the PE community, and (iii) the VIS community in order to breed cross-community algorithms, techniques, and systems for analyzing and visualizing performance-related data.

Call for Papers
We solicit 6–8 page full papers and 2–4 page short papers that focus on techniques at the intersection of the three communities HPC, PE, and VIS that either use visualization techniques to display large scale performance data or that develop new visualization or visual analytics methods that help create new insights. We welcome submissions presenting novel and experimental ideas as well as tool descriptions.

Papers must be submitted as a PDF file in the ACM Standard proceedings format, and formatted for 8.5” x 11” (U.S. Letter). The 4-page and 8-page limits include figures, tables, and references.

Papers will be peer-reviewed by members of the program committee and accepted papers will be published by ACM as part of ICPE 2019 proceedings. Accepted papers will also be presented during the workshop as a paper talk (~20 min) or a lightning presentation (~10 min).

All papers must be submitted through EasyChair.

Important Dates
Submission deadline: Jan 7, 2019
Notification of acceptance: Feb 1, 2019
Camera-ready deadline: Feb 15, 2019
Workshop: TBD, one day between 6th and 12th April 2019

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