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VISON: An Ontology-Based Approach for Software Visualization Tool Discoverability

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Proceedings (peer-reviewed)
Author Merino Leonel, Kozlova Ekaterina, Nierstrasz Oscar, Weiskopf Daniel,
Project Agile Software Assistance
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Proceedings (peer-reviewed)

Title of proceedings {VISSOFT}'19: Proceedings of the 7th IEEE Working Conference on Software Visualization
DOI 10.1109/vissoft.2019.00014


Although many tools have been presented in the research literature of software visualization, there is little evidence of their adoption. To choose a suitable visualization tool, practitioners need to analyze various characteristics of tools such as their supported software concerns and level of maturity. Indeed, some of such tools can be prototypes for which the lifespan is expected to be short, whereas some other tools can be fairly mature products that are maintained for a longer time. Although such characteristics are often described in papers, we conjecture that practitioners willing to adopt software visualizations require additional support to discover suitable visualization tools. In this paper, we elaborate on our efforts to provide such support. To this end, we systematically analyzed research papers in the literature of software visualization and curated a catalog of 70 available tools that employ various visualization techniques to support the analysis of multiple software concerns. We further encapsulate these characteristics in an ontology. VISON, our software visualization ontology, captures these semantics as concepts and relationships. We report on early results of usage scenarios that demonstrate how the ontology can support (i) developers to find suitable tools for particular development concerns, and (ii) researchers who propose new software visualization tools to identify a baseline tool for a controlled experiment.