Mapping Software Development Tool Design to Information Foraging Theory Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/m326m417z

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  • The design of programming tools is slow and costly. To ease this process, we have developed a design pattern catalog aimed at providing guidance about how to design tools for developers. This guidance is grounded in Information Foraging Theory (IFT), which empirical studies have shown to be useful for understanding how developers look for information during development tasks. We have facilitated a community-based approach for collecting design patterns in the catalog by having members of the research community author patterns on a publicly visible wiki. The design patterns concretely explain how to apply IFT in tool design. We conducted three evaluations of the design pattern catalog. First, qualitative analyses revealed several strengths and weaknesses of the entire design pattern catalog, in terms of criteria like problem domain coverage, abstraction level, generalizability and interconnectivity. The qualitative analyses also revealed that the community-generated design patterns compared well in quality to patterns that we had ourselves published in a smaller, peer-reviewed catalog. Second, feedback from industrial tool designers highlighted the potential value of the design pattern catalog in practice. Third, a between-subjects experiment demonstrated that students value the guidance provided through both an online wiki and through printed materials. The successful authoring of design patterns by researchers and subsequent evaluations illustrates a process of connecting Information Foraging Theory with the day-to-day needs of tool designers.
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