Visualizing Dynamic Data Dependences as a Help to Maintain Programs

Authors: Francoies Balmas, Harald Wertz and Rim Chaabane

Abstract :

This report is on a project to evaluate the impact of visualizing dynamic data dependences in the context of maintenance activities.

Our work is based on previous work in displaying static data dependences and on experience with large sets of dependence displaying strategies that we adapted to deal with problems where dynamic information is crucial. We developed a prototype around a Lisp interpreter and applied it to a highly complex AI program. This permitted us to build efficient visualizations and to evaluate the benefits of using dynamic dependences for program understanding, debuging and correctness checking.

In this paper, we present our prototype, detailing especially the different visualizations we introduced to allow users to deal with hard to understand programs, and we discuss how dynamic dependences permit to see what really happens during program executions.

This paper report is available in Postscript.