An Empirical Investigation for Different Sequences of Pedagogical Framework Documentation in RAD

S.B. Ho, I. Chai, and C.H. Tan (Malaysia)


Empirical Software Engineering, Software Maintenance,Documentation, Framework Techniques.


Frameworks are increasingly employed as a useful way to enable object-oriented reuse. However, understanding frameworks is not easy due to their size and complexity. Previous work concentrated on different ways to document frameworks, but it was unclear which ones actually were better. This paper presents a novel way of investigating the sequences of three philosophies for new framework documentation. Step-by-step documentation is the one traditionally used for software documentation. This philosophy gives clear and sequential steps so that people can follow them and learn how to do the task. Minimalist documentation is random-access so that the reader can proceed in a self-directed manner, and promotes using small cards or pages that can be read in the order the reader desires. Patterns centres upon the idea of giving the solution to a problem in its context. It also has the random-access idea of minimalist documentation, but disagrees with it in that contextual information is not minimal - it usually contains information other than what needs to be done. This investigation discovered some guidelines for effective framework documentation, particularly in a Rapid Application Development (RAD) environment. The results suggest that different documentation sequences are better for different goals.

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