A study of architectural information foraging in software architecture documents

Moon Ting Su, Ewan Tempero, John Hosking, John Grundy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

When using Software Architecture documents (ADs), users typically "forage" for information. However, it is little understood how they do this foraging or how to structure architecture documentation to assist them. We conducted a survey of two different groups of foragers, industry practitioner and academic AD users, to investigate issues - types of forages, foraging sequences and styles - related to task-based architectural information foraging in software architecture documents. Our results show that there were different pre-conceived ideas of what to forage for prior to the search, but during foraging there was commonly foraged information. The different groups of foragers place different emphasis on information related to quality requirements, purpose of the system, use cases, physical view and process view. Foraging sequences starting with certain information were suggested to better support understanding of the described SA. These sequences typically followed the written order of the information as dictated by the AD producers. This reinforces the critical responsibility of AD producers to structure the architectural information for understanding. Diagrams, views and design decisions were most frequently cited as supporting understanding of the SA. The main hindrance was too much text and a lack of diagrams.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2012 Joint Working Conference on Software Architecture and 6th European Conference on Software Architecture, WICSA/ECSA 2012
Pages141-150
Number of pages10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventJoint 10th Working IEEE/IFIP Conference on Software Architecture, WICSA 2012 and 6th European Conference on Software, ECSA 2012 - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 20 Aug 201224 Aug 2012

Conference

ConferenceJoint 10th Working IEEE/IFIP Conference on Software Architecture, WICSA 2012 and 6th European Conference on Software, ECSA 2012
CountryFinland
CityHelsinki
Period20/08/1224/08/12

Keywords

  • exploration
  • foraging
  • software architecture document
  • understanding

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