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Large object-oriented applications are structured over large number of packages. Packages are important but complex structural entities that may be difficult to understand since they play different development roles (i.e., class containers, code ownership basic structure, architectural elements...). Maintainers of large applications face the problem of understanding how packages are structured in general and how they relate to each others. In this paper, we present a compact visualization, named Package Surface Blueprint, that qualifies the relationships that a package has with its neighbours. A Package Surface Blueprint represents packages around the notion of package surfaces: groups of relationships according to the packages they refer to. We present two specific views one stressing the references made by a package and another showing the inheritance structure of a package. We applied the visualization on two large case studies: ArgoUML and Squeak.
Date of Conference: 2-5 Oct. 2007