Using Background Colors to Support Program Comprehension in Software Product Lines

A paper on Using Background Colors to Support Program Comprehension in Software Product Lines (IEEE Xplore) by Feigenspan, J., Schulze, M., Papendieck, M., Kästner, C., Dachselt, R., Köppen, V., Frisch, M. from the University of Magdeburg and University of Marburg published at the Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering (EASE) 2011 conducted a controlled user experiment with their tool Feature Commander (tool site).

We showed in a controlled experiment that the core characteristic of FeatureCommander, the usage of background colors, scales to a large SPL with over 160,000 lines of code and 340 features: Subjects that work with colors are faster for certain tasks and rate background colors as pleasant and suitable to work with preprocessor-based implementations. Hence, the use of background colors to support program comprehension in large SPLs is very promising.

More information about the project: Visualization and Interaction Techniques for Feature-Oriented Software Development

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About Craig Anslow

Craig Anslow is a Lecturer in Software Engineering at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, with research interests in software visualization.
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