Augmenting source code with software metrics
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Software is typically big and complex. Software metrics provide measurements of software products and development processes, in order to help software developers understand and improve their products. Metrics, however, can add to developers’ information overload problems, so visualisation techniques are needed to allow large volumes of measurement data to be efficiently communicated to an observer. Software measurement data is normally presented in reports, tables, or graphical visualisations that are distinct from the primary way developers view their products: in a source code editor. This separation makes it hard for developers to relate measurement data to the features being measured. Additionally, the intrusive task of having to run measurement tools and accommodate different views provides a disincentive for measuring at all. We present a new visualisation technique that directly applies a visualisation overlay to source code. We have developed a tool, CoderChrome, providing this functionality for the Eclipse Java editor. We discuss our progress in evaluating this visualisation to determine if this approach has the potential to improve the effectiveness of developers. The tool provides a basis for continued research into the usefulness of software metrics and understanding of the best practices of developers.