Date of Original Version

2008

Type

Conference Proceeding

Rights Management

Copyright © 2008 by the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than ACM must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Request permissions from Publications Dept., ACM, Inc., fax +1 (212) 869-0481, or permissions@acm.org. © ACM, 2008. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in the Proceedings of the 30th international conference on Software engineering {978-1-60558-079-1 (2008)} http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1368088.1368130

Abstract or Description

When software developers want to understand the reason for a program’s behavior, they must translate their questions about the behavior into a series of questions about code, speculating about the causes in the process. The Whyline is a new kind of debugging tool that avoids such speculation by instead enabling developers to select a question about program output from a set of why did and why didn’t questions derived from the program’s code and execution. The tool then finds one or more possible explanations for the output in question, using a combination of static and dynamic slicing, precise call graphs, and new algorithms for determining potential sources of values and explanations for why a line of code was not reached. Evaluations of the tool on one task showed that novice programmers with the Whyline were twice as fast as expert programmers without it. The tool has the potential to simplify debugging in many software development contexts.

Comments

Copyright © 2008 by the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than ACM must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Request permissions from Publications Dept., ACM, Inc., fax +1 (212) 869-0481, or permissions@acm.org. © ACM, 2008. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in the Proceedings of the 30th international conference on Software engineering {978-1-60558-079-1 (2008)} http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1368088.1368130

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