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Design patterns are widely recognized as important software development methods. Their use as software understanding tools, though generally acknowledged, has been scarcely explored. Patterns are most useful in understanding software when they are well documented. Sometimes they are described separately from code as design comments. Nevertheless, they have a strong relationship with the source code and thus they should also be documented at the source level. Unfortunately, there is no agreement on how to document pattern use. This paper describes a structured approach to documenting pattern use in the Java language. Our solution is based on the standard Javadoc tool and is able to generate HTML documentation. The approach has been implemented and tested with software that uses patterns.
Date of Conference: 2002