Extracting software re-use information for visualisation tools


Re-use of software is desirable to save time and resources, but it is also hard. Before code can be re-used, developers need to understand how to use it. One method to help software developers learn about existing code is visualisation. Unfortunately writing visualisation tools is difficult, because as well as visual displays, the tool needs to get information about the program.

This report explores a way to make it easier to write visualisation tools. By presenting an XML-based language that represents information useful for software re-use, visualisation tools, can parse and display from the language instaed of directly from the program. The XML output is provided by separate tools that specialise in gathering program information. One such tool has been built, and is discussed. By using SML instead of directly connecting to a program, authors of visualisation tools can concentrate more on developing good visualisations.

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