Test-driving EvoSpaces : software visualisation in the real world

Marmier, Raphaël ; Dugerdil, Philippe (Dir.)

Mémoire de diplôme HES : Haute école de gestion de Genève, 2007 ; TDIG 15.

EvoSpaces is a prototype software visualisation tool that represents the source code of an application as a city in 3D. The size and shape of the buildings are mapped to software metrics. A special “night mode” allows visualising execution traces as rays of light between buildings. Our mission was to try EvoSpaces on an industrial-sized real world application. The first part of this work... Plus

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    Résumé
    EvoSpaces is a prototype software visualisation tool that represents the source code of an application as a city in 3D. The size and shape of the buildings are mapped to software metrics. A special “night mode” allows visualising execution traces as rays of light between buildings. Our mission was to try EvoSpaces on an industrial-sized real world application. The first part of this work consisted in adapting EvoSpaces to a new database schema, generate metrics on the code of our target application and load execution traces. To do so, we implemented the Abstract Factory pattern in the database backend and wrote specialised tools. In the second part, we defined what is expected from EvoSpaces on a software maintainer’s point of view, and the design rules it must follow in order to be useful. Following a scenario of discovery, we asked ourselves typical maintainer questions. We then checked if we could answer them with the tool. Through this experimentation, we uncovered a flaw in how metrics were mapped to buildings, for which we provide a solution. We also made a number of small improvements and bug fixes. In this work, we believe we have brought EvoSpaces to the next level. The revised display combined with new software metrics has demonstrated its usefulness. More generally, the concept of driving a 3D world with software metric is validated. In conclusion, we believe that EvoSpaces includes now all the necessary elements to become a product for real world use. Finally, we assert that imagining and developing innovative software metrics is the key to EvoSpaces future.