Visual Debugging of Object-Oriented Systems With the Unified Modeling Language
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT
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The Department of Defense DoD is developing a Joint Battlespace Infosphere, linking a large number of data sources and user applications. Debugging and analysis tools are required to aid in this process. Debugging of large object-oriented systems is a difficult cognitive process that requires understanding of both the overall and detailed behavior of the application. In addition, many such applications linked through a distributed system add to this complexity. Standard debuggers do not utilize visualization techniques, focusing mainly on information extracted directly from the source code. To overcome this deficiency, this research designs and implements a methodology that enables developers to analyze, troubleshoot and evaluate object-oriented systems using visualization techniques. It uses the standard UML class diagram coupled with visualization features such as focuscontext, animation, graph layout, color encoding and filtering techniques to organize and present information in a manner that facilitates greater program and system comprehension. Multiple levels of abstraction, from low-level details such as source code and variable information to high-level structural detail in the form of a UML class diagram are accessible along with views of the program s control flow. The methods applied provide a considerable improvement up to 1110 in the number of classes that can be displayed in a set display area while still preserving user context and the semantics of UML, thus maintaining system understanding. Usability tests validated the application in terms of three criteria software visualization, debugging, and general system usability.
- Computer Programming and Software