On understanding how developers use the Spotter search tool
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SubjectComputers; Terminology; Visualization; Data visualization; Software; Image color analysis; Navigation
Analyzing how software engineers use the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is essential to better understanding how engineers carry out their daily tasks. SPOTTER is a code search engine for the Pharo programming language. Since its inception, SPOTTER has been rapidly and broadly adopted within the Pharo community. However, little is known about how practitioners employ SPOTTER to search and navigate within the Pharo code base. This paper evaluates how software engineers use SPOTTER in practice. To achieve this, we remotely gather user actions called events. These events are then visually rendered using an adequate navigation tool chain. Sequences of events are represented using a visual alphabet. We found a number of usage patterns and identified underused SPOTTER features. Such findings are essential for improving SPOTTER.
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