Path projection for user-centered static analysis tools

TitlePath projection for user-centered static analysis tools
Publication TypeConference Papers
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsKhoo Y P, Foster JS, Hicks MW, Sazawal V
Conference NameProceedings of the 8th ACM SIGPLAN-SIGSOFT workshop on Program analysis for software tools and engineering
Date Published2008///
Conference LocationNew York, NY, USA
ISBN Number978-1-60558-382-2

The research and industrial communities have made great strides in developing sophisticated defect detection tools based on static analysis. To date most of the work in this area has focused on developing novel static analysis algorithms, but has neglected study of other aspects of static analysis tools, particularly user interfaces. In this work, we present a novel user interface toolkit called Path Projection that helps users visualize, navigate, and understand program paths, a common component of many tools' error reports. We performed a controlled user study to measure the benefit of Path Projection in triaging error reports from Locksmith, a data race detection tool for C. We found that Path Projection improved participants' time to complete this task without affecting accuracy, while participants felt Path Projection was useful and strongly preferred it to a more standard viewer.