Deciphering Unfamiliar Code with Code Rocket

Craig Ramsay, Steve Parkes, and Alan Spark


Software Design and Development, Software Maintenance, Software Tools


Every software project whether large or small will at some point in its lifetime require the maintenance of unfamiliar code. The developer traditionally has to consult the original designs for the project if they are available and try to work through the source code line-by-line to decipher its meaning. This can be a very time-consuming process. This paper introduces new software support for comprehending unfamiliar code and assisting code maintenance tasks: ‘Code Rocket’. Code Rocket is a software tool which automatically generates abstract design information in the form of pseudocode and flowcharts to reveal the intent of program code and allow developers to quickly form a mental model of its purpose. The results of an informal survey amongst industrial users of Code Rocket suggests that it may offer benefits for improving visibility of business logic within code, assisting comprehension of code, and helping developers to become productive more quickly.

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