Reminding and refinding: examining how software developers use annotations

Date

2008-04-29T21:50:20Z

Authors

Ryall, Jody

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Abstract

Software development requires understanding and navigating complex software spaces. Developers frequently utilize annotations in source code to help them externalize information they need to remember, such as tasks and implementation details. Although some tool support exists in modern integrated development environments for authoring and navigating these annotations, we have observed that they often fail to remind developers about tasks that need to be performed and are sometimes difficult to find. We present the results from four empirical studies designed to better understand how developers create and manage their information using annotations. We also explore the use of hierarchical tagging capabilities to enhance these annotations. Based on the findings from these studies, we provide suggestions on how annotation tools may be improved.

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Keywords

annotations, software engineering, tagging, tasks

Citation