The Medium of Visualization for Software Comprehension

Merino, Leonel (2018). The Medium of Visualization for Software Comprehension. (Dissertation, Universität Bern, Philosophisch-naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät, Institut für Informatik)

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Although abundant studies have shown how visualization can help software developers to understand software systems, visualization is still not a common practice since developers (i) have little support to find a proper visualization for their needs, and once they find a suitable visualization tool, they (ii) are unsure of its effectiveness. We aim to offer support for identifying proper visualizations, and to increase the effectiveness of visualization techniques. In this dissertation, we characterize proposed software visualizations. To fill the gap between proposed visualizations and their practical application, we encapsulate such characteristics in an ontology, and propose a meta-visualization approach to find suitable visualizations. Amongst others characteristics of software visualizations, we identify that the medium used to display them can be a means to increase the effectiveness of visualization techniques for particular comprehension tasks.We implement visualization prototypes and validate our thesis via experiments. We found that even though developers using a physical 3D model medium required the least time to deal with tasks that involve identifying outliers, they perceived the least difficulty when visualizing systems based on the standard computer screen medium. Moreover, developers using immersive virtual reality obtained the highest recollection. We conclude that the effectiveness of software visualizations that use the city metaphor to support comprehension tasks can be increased when city visualizations are rendered in an appropriate medium. Furthermore, that visualization of software visualizations can be a suitable means for exploring their multiple characteristics that can be properly encapsulated in an ontology.

Item Type:

Thesis (Dissertation)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Computer Science (INF)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Computer Science (INF) > Software Composition Group (SCG)

UniBE Contributor:

Merino, Leonel and Nierstrasz, Oscar


000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
500 Science > 510 Mathematics




Igor Peter Hammer

Date Deposited:

03 Jul 2018 11:29

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 15:36



Additional Information:

e-Dissertation (edbe)




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