Computer Science Department
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


JASPER: Facilitating Software Maintenance
Activities With Explicit Task Representations

Michael J. Coblenz

August 2006

M.S. Thesis

Also appears as Human-Computer Interaction
Technical Report CMU-HCII-06-107


Keywords: Natural programming, concerns, working sets, eclipse, programming environments,

Recent research has shown that developers spend an average of 35% of their time performing navigations around code. Much of this time is spent on redundant navigations to code that the developer previously found. This is necessary today because existing development environments do not enable users to easily keep relevant information, such as web pages, textual notes, and code, visible during their tasks. Instead, users must constantly switch among and re-navigate to the various relevant artifacts. JASPER is a new system that allows users to collect relevant artifacts into a working set for easy reference. These artifacts are visible in a single view that represents the user's current task and allows users to easily make each artifact visible within its context. Users collect relevant artifacts pertaining to each task, and a distinct working set is mantained for each task. These working sets can be saved to disk and later loaded, so that users may return to tasks later and share task information with colleagues.

We predict that JASPER will significantly reduce time spent on redundant navigations. In addition, JASPER will facilitate multitasking, interruption management, and sharing task information with other developers. JASPER could be integrated with other tools, such as existing source code suggestion tools, to permit users to more easily collect and maintain sets of task-relevant information.

44 pages

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