ChronoTwigger: a visual analytics tool for understanding source and test co-evolution

Barrett Ens, Daniel Rea, Roiy Shpaner, Hadi Hemmati, James E. Young, Pourang Irani

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

17 Citations (Scopus)


Applying visual analytics to large software systems can help users comprehend the wealth of information produced by source repository mining. One concept of interest is the co-evolution of test code with source code, or how source and test files develop together over time. For example, understanding how the testing pace compares to the development pace can help test managers gauge the effectiveness of their testing strategy. A useful concept that has yet to be effectively incorporated into a co-evolution visualization is co-change. Co-change is a quantity that identifies correlations between software artifacts, and we propose using this to organize our visualization in order to enrich the analysis of co-evolution. In this paper, we create, implement, and study an interactive visual analytics tool that displays source and test file changes over time (co-evolution) while grouping files that change together (co-change). Our new technique improves the analyst's ability to infer information about the software development process and its relationship to testing. We discuss the development of our system and the results of a small pilot study with three participants. Our findings show that our visualization can lead to inferences that are not easily made using other techniques alone.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - Second IEEE Working Conference on Software Visualization, VISSOFT 2014
Subtitle of host publication29–30 September 2014 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
EditorsHouari Sahraoui, Andy Zaidman, Bonita Sharif
Place of PublicationPiscataway NJ USA
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780769553054
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventIEEE International Working Conference on Software Visualization 2014 - Victoria, Canada
Duration: 29 Sep 201430 Sep 2014
Conference number: 2nd


ConferenceIEEE International Working Conference on Software Visualization 2014
Abbreviated titleVISSOFT 2014
Internet address


  • 3D visualization
  • co-change
  • Co-evolution
  • information visualization
  • mining software repositories
  • temporal data visualization
  • visual analytics

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