Jody Ryall

University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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Publications (8)2.59 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Developers frequently add annotations to source code to help them remember pertinent information and mark locations of interest for future investigation. Finding and refinding these notes is a form of navigation that is integral to software maintenance. Although there is some tool support in modern development environments for authoring and navigating these comments, we have observed that these annotations often fail to remind and are sometimes difficult to find by the programmer. To address these shortcomings, we have designed a new approach for software navigation called tags for software engineering activities (TagSEA). TagSEA combines the notion of waypointing (a mechanism for marking locations in spatial navigation) with social tagging to support programmers in defining semantically rich annotations to source code comments. The tool provides support for creating, editing, navigating, and managing these annotations. We present the results from two empirical studies, where we observed and then analyzed how professional programmers used source code annotations to support their development activities over 24 months. Our findings indicate that the addition of semantic information to annotations can improve their value. We also provide suggestions on how annotation tools in general may be improved.
    IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering 01/2009; 35:470-483. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Software development is a highly collaborative activity that requires teams of developers to continually manage and coordinate their programming tasks. In this paper, we describe an empirical study that explored how task annotations embedded within the source code play a role in how software developers manage personal and team tasks. We present findings gathered by combining results from a survey of professional software developers, an analysis of code from open source projects, and interviews with software developers. Our findings help us describe how task annotations can be used to support a variety of activities fundamental to articulation work within software development. We describe how task management is negotiated between the more formal issue tracking systems and the informal annotations that programmers write within their source code. We report that annotations have different meanings and are dependent on individual, team and community use. We also present a number of issues related to managing annotations, which may have negative implications for maintenance. We conclude with insights into how these findings could be used to improve tool support and software process.
    30th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2008), Leipzig, Germany, May 10-18, 2008; 01/2008
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    ABSTRACT: We have developed a new approach for software navigation called TagSEA (Tagging of Software Engineering Activities). TagSEA combines the notion of "waypointing" with "social tagging" to support programmers in defining navigational structures over a software system. In this paper we present the results from a case study series, conducted with professional programmers, that demonstrates how this tool supports navigation and under what circumstances. We conclude with insights into user-definable navigational structures, and how they can support software maintenance more effectively.
    Software Maintenance, 2007. ICSM 2007. IEEE International Conference on; 11/2007
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    ABSTRACT: The discipline of graph visualization produces pictorial representations of node–link structures. Much effort has been directed toward making such diagrams visually pleasing. A variety of aesthetic heuristics have been proposed, with the assumption that these will improve readability and understanding. We look at a perceptual basis for these heuristics, including Gestalt principles and Norman's emotional design framework. Next, we review the work to date on aesthetic heuristics and examine what has been done to evaluate these heuristics. We summarize this in a framework that outlines graph drawing heuristics, their perceptual basis, and evaluation status.
    Computational Aesthetics 2007: Eurographics Workshop on Computational Aesthetics in Graphics, Visualization and Imaging, Banff, Alberta, Canada, June 20-22, 2007; 01/2007
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    ABSTRACT: This paper describes an initial investigation of how different conditions for conducting a team programming exercise impact learning. We conducted a series of in-depth case studies on the use of various communication technologies and compared them with face-to-face case studies of team programming. We explored how these communication technologies can help improve students' learning. We summarize the findings from these studies and give guidance to instructors and to tool designers on how future tools can be improved to support collaborative learning in team programming.
    28th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2006), Shanghai, China, May 20-28, 2006; 01/2006
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we describe marking features provided in Gild, a set of plug-ins to support education in Eclipse developed at the University of Victoria. We discuss our requirements gathering techniques, design process and the challenges experienced during development of this tool. We also consider the problematic nature of student evaluation, particularly within the context of introductory Computer Science courses.
    Proceedings of the 2004 OOPSLA workshop on Eclipse Technology eXchange, ETX 2004, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, October 24, 2004; 01/2004
  • J. Ryall
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT This paper aims to follow on where,the Easterbrook et al. [7] paper left off, clarifying some details that are imprecise and expanding on some areas of interest. Finally, the TagSEA research project is analyzed to determine the research direction we have taken, and where the research can go from here.
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    Jody Ryall