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Comprehension processes during large scale maintenance

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2 Author(s)
von Mayrhauser, A. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO, USA ; Vans, A.M.

We present results of observing professional maintenance engineers working with industrial code at actual maintenance tasks. Protocol analysis is used to explore how code understanding might differ for small versus large scale code. The experiment confirms that cognition processes work at all levels of abstraction simultaneously as programmers build a mental model of the code. Cognition processes emerged at three levels of aggregation representing lower and higher level strategies of understanding. They show differences in what triggers them and how they achieve their goals. Results are useful for defining core competencies which maintenance engineers need for their work and for documentation and development standards

Published in:

Software Engineering, 1994. Proceedings. ICSE-16., 16th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

16-21 May 1994