Institute for Software Research
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
Documentation Generation as Information Visualization
This paper was presented at PLATEAU 2020:
Automatic documentation generation tools, or auto docs, are widely used to visualize information about APIs. However, each auto doc tool comes with its own unique representation of API information. In this paper, I use an information visualization analysis of auto docs to generate potential design principles for improving their usability. Developers use auto docs as a reference by looking up relevant API primitives given partial information, or leads, about its name, type, or behavior. I discuss how auto docs can better support searching and scanning on these leads, e.g. by providing more information-dense visualizations of method signatures.