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Carnegie Mellon Java Tools Employ Human-Centered Design Techniques

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Carnegie Mellon News

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researchers have developed Jadeite and Apatite, two tools designed to help programmers choose between the thousands of options available in the application programming interfaces (APIs) used to write Java applications. Jadeite and Apatite use human-centered design techniques to reduce the amount of time and guesswork that often is needed when working with Java APIs. Selecting APIs is a key aspect of Java programming, but it is not intuitive, says CMU professor Brad A. Myers. More than 35,000 methods are listed in 4,100 classes in the current Javadoc library of APIs, and more are being added with each Java update. Myers says working with Java APIs is a problem for developers at all levels. Jadeite (Java Documentation with Extra Information Tacked-on for Emphasis) improves usability by enhancing existing Javadoc documentation. For example, Jadeite displays the names of API classes in font sizes that correspond with how often they are used, based on Google searches, helping programmers avoid rarely used classes. Apatite (Associative Perusal of APIs That Identifies Targets Easily) allows programmers to browse APIs by association to see what packages, classes, and methods are often used with each other. Apatite also uses statistics on the popularity of each item to provide weighted opinions of the most relevant items.

From "Carnegie Mellon Develops Java Programming Tools Employing Human-Centered Design Techniques"

Carnegie Mellon News (06/17/09) Spice, Byron

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