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2009
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Non-programmers identifying functionality in unfamiliar code: Strategies and barriers

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Non-programmers identifying functionality in unfamiliar code: Strategies and barriers
Source code on the web is a widely available and potentially rich learning resource for nonprogrammers. However, unfamiliar code can be daunting to end-users without programming experience. This paper describes the results of an exploratory study in which we asked non-programmers to find and modify the code responsible for specific functionality within unfamiliar programs. We present two interacting models of how non-programmers approach this problem: the Task Process Model and the Landmark-Mapping model. Using these models, we describe code search strategies non-programmers employed and the difficulties they encountered. Finally, we propose guidelines for future programming environments that support non-programmers in finding functionality in unfamiliar programs.
Paul A. Gross, Caitlin Kelleher
Added 21 May 2010
Updated 21 May 2010
Type Conference
Year 2009
Where VL
Authors Paul A. Gross, Caitlin Kelleher
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