Program Understanding

Program-Transformation.Org: The Program Transformation Wiki
The UVicReverseEngineeringTutorial defines program understanding as
  • The task of building mental models of the underlying software at various abstraction levels, ranging from models of the code itself to ones of the underlying application domain, for SoftwareMaintenance, SoftwareEvolution, and ReEngineering purposes.

Synonym: ProgramComprehension

Program understanding is a central activity during SoftwareMaintenance: T. A. Corbi reports that up to 50% of the maintenance effort is spent on trying to understand code (IBM Systems Journal 28(2):294-306, 1989, Program Understanding: Challenge for the 1990s)

Relevant topics:

A general survey on program comprehension is given by SpencerRugaber:

SpencerRugaber defines program comprehension as the process of acquiring knowledge about a computer program. The survey covers cognitive processes, techniques for automated program understanding such as dataflow and control flow analysis, program comprehension tools, example applications, and resources.

Resources include

The relationship between SoftwareProcess and ProgramUnderstanding is explored in ProgramComprehensionRisksAndOpportunitiesInXP

-- ArieVanDeursen, Oct 2001.

An up to date account of program comprehenion theories can be found in AndrewWalenstein's PhD? thesis, which contains over 750 references, and explores the relationship between program comprehension and software engineering tools.


-- ArieVanDeursen, Jan 2003, updated May 2004 by AndrewWalenstein

CategoryProgramUnderstanding | CategoryReengineeringWiki | Contributions by ArieVanDeursen