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We are building a tool, Relo, to help developers understand parts of large codebases:

  1. by reducing the high cognitive overhead found in many software visualization tools; and
  2. by allowing developers to incrementally explore the code and build a visualization representing their mental model (avoiding overloading the user with information not relevant to his/her goals).

1. Cognitive Overhead: Program understanding tools need to manage large amounts of information available in codebases. They need to therefore reduce the cognitive overhead (in program comprehension). Relo thus intuitively supports:

2. Incremental Browsing: Program understanding tools need to help programmers understand code features that are scattered throughout the program text. Developers should be able to browse and find related code snippets. Support for bottom-up exploration by allowing incremental building and refining of visualizations, helps developers’ build a mental model and maintain context. Relo supports bottom-up comprehension by allowing developers to select relationships they want to follow and using the traversed paths in building a visualization.

Last Updated: 12th Jan. 2007