Array Explorer: Visualizing Arrays in the Eclipse Java IDE

Bilal Alsallakh, Peter Bodesinsky, Silvia Miksch, and Dorna Nasseri. Visualizing Arrays in the Eclipse Java IDE. Demonstration at CSMR 2012.

Abstract:
The Eclipse Java debugger uses an indented list to view arrays at runtime. This visualization provides limited insight into the array. Also, it is cumbersome and time-consuming to search for certain values at an unknown index. We present a new Eclipse plugin for visualizing large arrays and collections while debugging Java programs. The plugin provides three views to visualize the data. These views are designed to support different tasks more efficiently. A tabular view gives detailed information about the elements in the array, such as the value of their field variables. A line chart aims to depict the values of a numerical field over the array. Lastly, bar charts and histograms show how the values of a field are distributed. We show how these views can be used to explore linear data structures and hashes from the Collections Framework. The plugin features tight integration with the Eclipse IDE, and is freely available as an open-source project. Developers’ feedback confirmed the utility of the plugin
to explore large arrays in real-world scenarios.

Project page: http://www.cvast.tuwien.ac.at/projects/visualdebugging/ArrayExplorer

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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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