Publication statistics

Pub. period:2004-2011
Pub. count:29
Number of co-authors:47



Co-authors

Number of publications with 3 favourite co-authors:

Brad A. Myers:13
Jacob O. Wobbrock:6
Parmit K. Chilana:6

 

 

Productive colleagues

Andrew J. Ko's 3 most productive colleagues in number of publications:

Brad A. Myers:154
Mary Beth Rosson:142
Scott E. Hudson:113
 
 
 

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Andrew J. Ko

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Personal Homepage:
http://faculty.washington.edu/ajko/

I'm an assistant professor at the Information School at the University of Washington. I direct the use research group. We study human aspects of software development with the aim of inventing technologies that help software teams be more user-centered. I am also a core member of the dub group, the cross-campus human-computer interaction research and education coalition at UW. The goal of my research is for software evolution to be driven more by human needs and values than technological constraints. To do this, I study the human processes by which human desires get translated into code, including design, bug reporting, bug triage, issue tracking, technical support, help systems, debugging, bug finding, usability engineering, and end-user programming. In studying these phenomena, my goal is to invent tools and techniques that make it easier to design software that facilitates human endeavors.

 

Publications by Andrew J. Ko (bibliography)

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2011
 
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Ko, Andrew J. and Zhang, Xing (2011): Feedlack detects missing feedback in web applications. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2011. pp. 2177-2186. Available online

While usability methods such as user studies and inspections can reveal a wide range of problems, they do so for only a subset of an application's features and states. We present FeedLack, a tool that explores the full range of web applications' behaviors for one class of usability problems, namely that of missing feedback. It does this by enumerating control flow paths originating from user input, identifying paths that lack output-affecting code. FeedLack was applied to 330 applications; of the 129 that contained input handlers and did not contain syntax errors, 115 were successfully analyzed, resulting in 647 warnings. Of these 36% were missing crucial feedback; 34% were executable and missing feedback, but followed conventions that made feedback inessential; 18% were scenarios that did produce feedback; 12% could not be executed. We end with a discussion of the viability of FeedLack as a usability testing tool.

© All rights reserved Ko and Zhang and/or their publisher

 
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Chilana, Parmit K., Ko, Andrew J., Wobbrock, Jacob O., Grossman, Tovi and Fitzmaurice, George (2011): Post-deployment usability: a survey of current practices. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2011. pp. 2243-2246. Available online

Despite the growing research on usability in the pre-development phase, we know little about post-deployment usability activities. To characterize these activities, we surveyed 333 full-time usability professionals and consultants working in large and small corporations from a wide range of industries. Our results show that, as a whole, usability professionals are currently not playing a substantial role in the post-deployment phase compared to other phases of user-centered design, but when they do, practitioners find their interactions quite valuable. We highlight opportunities in HCI research and practice to bridge this gap by working more closely with software support and maintenance teams. We also raise the need to understand what might be called 'usability maintenance,' that is, the process and procedures, by which usability is maintained after deployment.

© All rights reserved Chilana et al. and/or their publisher

 
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Ko, Andrew J., Abraham, Robin, Beckwith, Laura, Blackwell, Alan, Burnett, Margaret M., Erwig, Martin, Scaffidi, Christopher, Lawrance, Joseph, Lieberman, Henry, Myers, Brad A., Rosson, Mary Beth, Rothermel, Gregg, Shaw, Mary and Wiedenbeck, Susan (2011): The State of the Art in End-User Software Engineering. In ACM Computing Surveys, 43 (3) pp. 1-44.

Most programs today are written not by professional software developers, but by people with expertise in other domains working towards goals for which they need computational support. For example, a teacher might write a grading spreadsheet to save time grading, or an interaction designer might use an interface builder to test some user interface design ideas. Although these end-user programmers may not have the same goals as professional developers, they do face many of the same software engineering challenges, including understanding their requirements, as well as making decisions about design, reuse, integration, testing, and debugging. This article summarizes and classifies research on these activities, defining the area of End-User Software Engineering (EUSE) and related terminology. The article then discusses empirical research about end-user software engineering activities and the technologies designed to support them. The article also addresses several crosscutting issues in the design of EUSE tools, including the roles of risk, reward, and domain complexity, and self-efficacy in the design of EUSE tools and the potential of educating users about software engineering principles.

© All rights reserved Ko et al. and/or ACM Press

 
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Ko, Andrew J., Lee, Michael J., Ferrari, Valentina, Ip, Steven and Tran, Charlie (2011): A case study of post-deployment user feedback triage. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Workshop on Cooperative and Human Aspects of Software Engineering 2011. pp. 1-8. Available online

Many software requirements are identified only after a product is deployed, once users have had a chance to try the software and provide feedback. Unfortunately, addressing such feedback is not always straightforward, even when a team is fully invested in user-centered design. To investigate what constrains a teams evolution decisions, we performed a 6-month field study of a team employing iterative user-centered design methods to the design, deployment and evolution of a web application for a university community. Across interviews with the team, analyses of their bug reports, and further interviews with both users and non-adopters of the application, we found most of the constraints on addressing user feedback emerged from conflicts between users heterogeneous use of information and inflexible assumptions in the team's software architecture derived from earlier user research. These findings highlight the need for new approaches to expressing and validating assumptions from user research as software evolves.

© All rights reserved Ko et al. and/or ACM Press

 
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Ko, Andrew J. and Riche, Yann (2011): The role of conceptual knowledge in API usability. In: Proceedings of the 2011 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing VL/HCC 2011, Pittsburg, PA. pp. 173-176. Available online

While many studies have investigated the challenges that developers face in finding and using API documentation, few have considered the role of developers' conceptual knowledge in these tasks. We designed a study in which developers were asked to explore the feasibility of two requirements concerning networking protocols and application platforms that most participants were unfamiliar with, observing the effect that a lack of conceptual knowledge had on their use of documentation. Our results show that without conceptual knowledge, developers struggled to formulate effective queries and to evaluate the relevance or meaning of content they found. Our results suggest that API documentation should not only include detailed examples of API use, but also thorough introductions to the concepts, standards, and ideas manifested in an API's data structures and functionality.

© All rights reserved Ko and Riche and/or their publisher

 
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Ko, Andrew J. and Chilana, Parmit K. (2011): Design, discussion, and dissent in open bug reports. In: Proceedings of the 2011 iConference 2011. pp. 106-113. Available online

While studies have considered computer-mediated decision-making in several domains, few have considered the unique challenges posed in software design. To address this gap, a qualitative study of 100 contentious open source bug reports was performed. The results suggest that the immeasurability of many software qualities and conflicts between achieving original design intent and serving changing user needs led to a high reliance on anecdote, speculation, and generalization. The visual presentation of threaded discussions aggravated these problems making it difficult to view design proposals and comparative critiques. The results raise several new questions about the interaction between authority and evidence in online design discussions.

© All rights reserved Ko and Chilana and/or ACM Press

2010
 
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Ko, Andrew J. and Chilana, Parmit K. (2010): How power users help and hinder open bug reporting. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2010 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2010. pp. 1665-1674. Available online

Many power users that contribute to open source projects have no intention of becoming regular contributors; they just want a bug fixed or a feature implemented. How often do these users participate in open source projects and what do they contribute? To investigate these questions, we analyzed the reports of Mozilla contributors who reported problems but were never assigned problems to fix. These analyses revealed that over 11 years and millions of reports, most of these 150,000 users reported non-issues that devolved into technical support, redundant reports with little new information, or narrow, expert feature requests. Reports that did lead to changes were reported by a comparably small group of experienced, frequent reporters, mostly before the release of Firefox 1. These results suggest that the primary value of open bug reporting is in recruiting talented reporters, and not in deriving value from the masses.

© All rights reserved Ko and Chilana and/or their publisher

 
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Chilana, Parmit K., Wobbrock, Jacob O. and Ko, Andrew J. (2010): Understanding usability practices in complex domains. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2010 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2010. pp. 2337-2346. Available online

Although usability methods are widely used for evaluating conventional graphical user interfaces and websites, there is a growing concern that current approaches are inadequate for evaluating complex, domain-specific tools. We interviewed 21 experienced usability professionals, including in-house experts, external consultants, and managers working in a variety of complex domains, and uncovered the challenges commonly posed by domain complexity and how practitioners work around them. We found that despite the best efforts by usability professionals to get familiar with complex domains on their own, the lack of formal domain expertise can be a significant hurdle for carrying out effective usability evaluations. Partnerships with domain experts lead to effective results as long as domain experts are willing to be an integral part of the usability team. These findings suggest that for achieving usability in complex domains, some fundamental educational changes may be needed in the training of usability professionals.

© All rights reserved Chilana et al. and/or their publisher

 
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Myers, Brad A., Burnett, Margaret M., Ko, Andrew J., Rosson, Mary Beth, Scaffidi, Christopher and Wiedenbeck, Susan (2010): End user software engineering: CHI 2010 special interest group meeting. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2010 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2010. pp. 3189-3192. Available online

End users create software whenever they create, for instance, interactive web pages, games, educational simulations, or spreadsheets. Researchers are working to bring the benefits of rigorous software engineering methodologies to these end users to try to make their software more reliable. Unfortunately, errors are pervasive in end-user software, and the resulting impact is sometimes enormous. This special interest group meeting will bring together the community of researchers who are addressing this topic with the companies that are creating and using end-user programming tools.

© All rights reserved Myers et al. and/or their publisher

 
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Patel, Kayur, Bancroft, Naomi, Drucker, Steven M., Fogarty, James, Ko, Andrew J. and Landay, James A. (2010): Gestalt: integrated support for implementation and analysis in machine learning. In: Proceedings of the 2010 ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology 2010. pp. 37-46. Available online

We present Gestalt, a development environment designed to support the process of applying machine learning. While traditional programming environments focus on source code, we explicitly support both code and data. Gestalt allows developers to implement a classification pipeline, analyze data as it moves through that pipeline, and easily transition between implementation and analysis. An experiment shows this significantly improves the ability of developers to find and fix bugs in machine learning systems. Our discussion of Gestalt and our experimental observations provide new insight into general-purpose support for the machine learning process.

© All rights reserved Patel et al. and/or their publisher

 
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Ko, Andrew J. and Wobbrock, Jacob O. (2010): Cleanroom: Edit-Time Error Detection with the Uniqueness Heuristic. In: Hundhausen, Christopher D., Pietriga, Emmanuel, Diaz, Paloma and Rosson, Mary Beth (eds.) IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, VL/HCC 2010 21-25 September 2010, 2010, Legans-Madrid, Spain. pp. 7-14. Available online

 
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Chilana, Parmit K., Ko, Andrew J. and Wobbrock, Jacob O. (2010): Understanding Expressions of Unwanted Behaviors in Open Bug Reporting. In: Hundhausen, Christopher D., Pietriga, Emmanuel, Diaz, Paloma and Rosson, Mary Beth (eds.) IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, VL/HCC 2010 21-25 September 2010, 2010, Legans-Madrid, Spain. pp. 203-206. Available online

2009
 
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Ko, Andrew J. and Myers, Brad A. (2009): Finding causes of program output with the Java Whyline. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2009 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2009. pp. 1569-1578. Available online

Debugging and diagnostic tools are some of the most important software development tools, but most expect developers choose the right code to inspect. Unfortunately, this rarely occurs. A new tool called the Whyline is described which avoids such speculation by allowing developers to select questions about a program's output. The tool then helps developers work backwards from output to its causes. The prototype, which supports Java programs, was evaluated in an experiment in which participants investigated two real bug reports from an open source project using either the Whyline or a breakpoint debugger. Whyline users were successful about three times as often and about twice as fast compared to the control group, and were extremely positive about the tool's ability to simplify diagnostic tasks in software development work.

© All rights reserved Ko and Myers and/or ACM Press

 
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Myers, Brad A., Burnett, Margaret M., Wiedenbeck, Susan, Ko, Andrew J. and Rosson, Mary Beth (2009): End user software engineering: CHI: 2009 special interest group meeting. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2009 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2009. pp. 2731-2734. Available online

End users create software whenever they write, for instance, educational simulations, spreadsheets, or dynamic e-business web applications. Researchers are working to bring the benefits of rigorous software engineering methodologies to these end users to try to make their software more reliable. Unfortunately, errors are pervasive in end-user software, and the resulting impact is sometimes enormous. This special interest group meeting will bring together the community of researchers who are addressing this topic with the companies that are creating and using end-user programming tools.

© All rights reserved Myers et al. and/or ACM Press

 
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Kulesza, Todd, Wong, Weng-Keen, Stumpf, Simone, Perona, Stephen, White, Rachel, Burnett, Margaret M., Oberst, Ian and Ko, Andrew J. (2009): Fixing the program my computer learned: barriers for end users, challenges for the machine. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces 2009. pp. 187-196. Available online

The results of a machine learning from user behavior can be thought of as a program, and like all programs, it may need to be debugged. Providing ways for the user to debug it matters, because without the ability to fix errors users may find that the learned program's errors are too damaging for them to be able to trust such programs. We present a new approach to enable end users to debug a learned program. We then use an early prototype of our new approach to conduct a formative study to determine where and when debugging issues arise, both in general and also separately for males and females. The results suggest opportunities to make machine-learned programs more effective tools.

© All rights reserved Kulesza et al. and/or their publisher

 
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Wobbrock, Jacob O., Ko, Andrew J. and Kientz, Julie A. (2009): Reflections on the future of iSchools from inspired junior faculty. In Interactions, 16 (5) pp. 69-71. Available online

 
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Ko, Andrew J. and Good, Judith (2009): Democratizing access to computational tools: The 7th annual VL/HCC graduate student consortium. In: IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing - VL/HCC 2009 20-24 September, 2009, Corvallis, OR, USA. p. 241. Available online

 
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Chilana, Parmit K., Ko, Andrew J. and Wobbrock, Jacob O. (2009): Designing software for unfamiliar domains. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Workshop on Cooperative and Human Aspects of Software Engineering 2009. p. 22. Available online

In recent years, software has become indispensable in complex domains such as science, engineering, biomedicine, and finance. Unfortunately, software developers and user researchers, who are usually experts in programming and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) methods, respectively, often find that the insight needed to design for complex domains only comes with years of domain experience. How can everyone on a software design team acquire just enough knowledge to design effective software, especially user interfaces, without having to become domain experts? We are performing a series of studies to investigate this question, with the ultimate goal of designing tools to help software teams better capture, manage and explore domain knowledge.expand

© All rights reserved Chilana et al. and/or ACM Press

2008
 
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Myers, Brad A., Burnett, Margaret M., Rosson, Mary Beth, Ko, Andrew J. and Blackwell, Alan (2008): End user software engineering: chi'2008 special interest group meeting. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2008 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems April 5-10, 2008. pp. 2371-2374. Available online

End users create software whenever they write, for instance, educational simulations, spreadsheets, or dynamic e-business web applications. Researchers are working to bring the benefits of rigorous software engineering methodologies to these end users to try to make their software more reliable. Unfortunately, errors are pervasive in end-user software, and the resulting impact is sometimes enormous. This special interest group meeting has two purposes: to incorporate attendees' and feedback into an emerging survey of the state of this interesting new sub-area, and generally to bring together the community of researchers who are addressing this topic, with the companies that are creating end-user programming tools.

© All rights reserved Myers et al. and/or ACM Press

 
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Park, Sun Young, Myers, Brad A. and Ko, Andrew J. (2008): Designers' natural descriptions of interactive behaviors. In: VL-HCC 2008 - IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing 15-19 September, 2008, Herrsching am Ammersee, Germany. pp. 185-188. Available online

 
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Ko, Andrew J. and Myers, Brad A. (2008): Source-level debugging with the Whyline. In: Proceedings of the 2008 International Workshop on Cooperative and Human Aspects of Software Engineering 2008. pp. 69-72. Available online

The visualizations of the Whyline are presented, which focus on supporting the exploration a source code and how it executes. The visualization is concise, simple to navigate, and mimics syntactic features of its target programming language for consistency. Two studies showed that users with the visualization completed a debugging task twice as fast as users without the visualization, partly due to features of the visualization. Applications of the visualizations to tasks other than debugging are discussed.

© All rights reserved Ko and Myers and/or ACM Press

2007
 
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Cherubini, Mauro, Venolia, Gina, DeLine, Rob and Ko, Andrew J. (2007): Let's go to the whiteboard: how and why software developers use drawings. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2007 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2007. pp. 557-566. Available online

Software developers are rooted in the written form of their code, yet they often draw diagrams representing their code. Unfortunately, we still know little about how and why they create these diagrams, and so there is little research to inform the design of visual tools to support developers' work. This paper presents findings from semi-structured interviews that have been validated with a structured survey. Results show that most of the diagrams had a transient nature because of the high cost of changing whiteboard sketches to electronic renderings. Diagrams that documented design decisions were often externalized in these temporary drawings and then subsequently lost. Current visualization tools and the software development practices that we observed do not solve these issues, but these results suggest several directions for future research.

© All rights reserved Cherubini et al. and/or ACM Press

2006
 
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Ko, Andrew J. and Myers, Brad A. (2006): Barista: An implementation framework for enabling new tools, interaction techniques and views in code editors. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2006 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2006. pp. 387-396. Available online

Recent advances in programming environments have focused on improving programmer productivity by utilizing the inherent structure in computer programs. However, because these environments represent code as plain text, it is difficult and sometimes impossible to embed interactive tools, annotations, and alternative views in the code itself. Barista is an implementation framework that enables the creation of such user interfaces by simplifying the implementation of editors that represent code internally as an abstract syntax tree and maintain a corresponding, fully structured visual representation on-screen. Barista also provides designers of editors with a standard text-editing interaction technique that closely mimics that of conventional text editors, overcoming a central usability issue of previous structured code editors.

© All rights reserved Ko and Myers and/or ACM Press

 
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Myers, Brad A., Weitzman, David A., Ko, Andrew J. and Chau, Duen H. (2006): Answering why and why not questions in user interfaces. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2006 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2006. pp. 397-406. Available online

Modern applications such as Microsoft Word have many automatic features and hidden dependencies that are frequently helpful but can be mysterious to both novice and expert users. The ""Crystal"" application framework provides an architecture and interaction techniques that allow programmers to create applications that let the user ask a wide variety of questions about why things did and did not happen, and how to use the related features of the application without using natural language. A user can point to an object or a blank space and get a popup list of questions about it, or the user can ask about recent actions from a temporal list. Parts of a text editor were implemented to show that these techniques are feasible, and a user test suggests that they are helpful and well-liked.

© All rights reserved Myers et al. and/or ACM Press

 
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Ko, Andrew J., Myers, Brad A. and Chau, Duen Horng (2006): A Linguistic Analysis of How People Describe Software Problems. In: VL-HCC 2006 - IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing 4-8 September, 2006, Brighton, UK. pp. 127-134. Available online

2005
 
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Ko, Andrew J. and Myers, Brad A. (2005): Citrus: a language and toolkit for simplifying the creation of structured editors for code and data. In: Proceedings of the 2005 ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology 2005. pp. 3-12. Available online

Direct-manipulation editors for structured data are increasingly common. While such editors can greatly simplify the creation of structured data, there are few tools to simplify the creation of the editors themselves. This paper presents Citrus, a new programming language and user interface toolkit designed for this purpose. Citrus offers language-level support for constraints, restrictions and change notifications on primitive and aggregate data, mechanisms for automatically creating, removing, and reusing views as data changes, a library of widgets, layouts and behaviors for defining interactive views, and two comprehensive interactive editors as an interface to the language and toolkit itself. Together, these features support the creation of editors for a large class of data and code.

© All rights reserved Ko and Myers and/or ACM Press

 
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Fogarty, James, Ko, Andrew J., Aung, Htet Htet, Golden, Elspeth, Tang, Karen P. and Hudson, Scott E. (2005): Examining task engagement in sensor-based statistical models of human interruptibility. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2005 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2005. pp. 331-340. Available online

The computer and communication systems that office workers currently use tend to interrupt at inappropriate times or unduly demand attention because they have no way to determine when an interruption is appropriate. Sensor?based statistical models of human interruptibility offer a potential solution to this problem. Prior work to examine such models has primarily reported results related to social engagement, but it seems that task engagement is also important. Using an approach developed in our prior work on sensor?based statistical models of human interruptibility, we examine task engagement by studying programmers working on a realistic programming task. After examining many potential sensors, we implement a system to log low?level input events in a development environment. We then automatically extract features from these low?level event logs and build a statistical model of interruptibility. By correctly identifying situations in which programmers are non?interruptible and minimizing cases where the model incorrectly estimates that a programmer is non?interruptible, we can support a reduction in costly interruptions while still allowing systems to convey notifications in a timely manner.

© All rights reserved Fogarty et al. and/or ACM Press

 
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Ko, Andrew J., Aung, Htet Htet and Myers, Brad A. (2005): Design requirements for more flexible structured editors from a study of programmers' text editing. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2005 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2005. pp. 1557-1560. Available online

A detailed study of Java programmers' text editing found that the full flexibility of unstructured text was not utilized for the vast majority of programmers' character-level edits. Rather, programmers used a small set of editing patterns to achieve their modifications, which accounted for all of the edits observed in the study. About two-thirds of the edits were of name and list structures and most edits preserved structure except for temporary omissions of delimiters. These findings inform the design of a new class of more flexible structured program editors that may avoid well-known usability problems of traditional structured editors, while providing more sophisticated support such as more universal code completion and smarter copy and paste.

© All rights reserved Ko et al. and/or ACM Press

2004
 
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Ko, Andrew J. and Myers, Brad A. (2004): Designing the whyline: a debugging interface for asking questions about program behavior. In: Dykstra-Erickson, Elizabeth and Tscheligi, Manfred (eds.) Proceedings of ACM CHI 2004 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems April 24-29, 2004, Vienna, Austria. pp. 151-158. Available online

Debugging is still among the most common and costly of programming activities. One reason is that current debugging tools do not directly support the inquisitive nature of the activity. Interrogative Debugging is a new debugging paradigm in which programmers can ask why did and even why didn't questions directly about their program's runtime failures. The Whyline is a prototype Interrogative Debugging interface for the Alice programming environment that visualizes answers in terms of runtime events directly relevant to a programmer's question. Comparisons of identical debugging scenarios from user tests with and without the Whyline showed that the Whyline reduced debugging time by nearly a factor of 8, and helped programmers complete 40% more tasks.

© All rights reserved Ko and Myers and/or ACM Press

 
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