Skip to Main Content
Linguistic information derived from identifiers and comments has a paramount role in program comprehension. Indeed, very often, program documentation is scarce and when available, it is almost always outdated. Previous research works showed that program comprehension is often solely grounded on identifiers and comments and that, ultimately, it is the quality of comments and identifiers that impact the accuracy and efficiency of program comprehension. Previous works also investigated the factors influencing program comprehension. However, they are limited by the available tools used to establish relations between cognitive processes and program comprehension. The goal of our research work is to foster our understanding of program comprehension by better understanding its implied underlying cognitive processes. We plan to study vision as the fundamental mean used by developers to understand a code in the context of a given program. Vision is indeed the trigger mechanism starting any cognitive process, in particular in program comprehension. We want to provide supporting evidence that context guides the cognitive process toward program comprehension. Therefore, we will perform a series of empirical studies to collect observations related to the use of context and vision in program comprehension. Then, we will propose laws and then derive a theory to explain the observable facts and predict new facts. The theory could be used in future empirical studies and will provide the relation between program comprehension and cognitive processes.
Date of Conference: 22-24 June 2011