This research seeks ways to aid program understanding, development,
testing, and debugging by using visualization and animation. We hope
to use visualizations to expose the "insides" of computer programs,
making evident attributes of a program that are difficult to assess
otherwise. We have developed a system called
Lens that allows programmers to create algorithm animation style
presentations for the programs they are debugging. Most importantly,
no text coding is required to create the views.
Pictured here is a snapshot of the Lens tool being used to examine a
depth first search program. On top is the generated animation of the
program. In the lower window, to the left is the program source, in
the top right is the graphical editor for specifying the appearance of
the program, and in the lower right is the debugger command shell.
The Lens system is available via anonymous ftp. You will need dbx,
the X Window System, and Motif to run it. It has only been tested on
SPARCstations running Sun OS 4.1.3. To go to the directory to
retrieve it, press here.
Pertinent references include:
Mukherjea, Sougata and Stasko, John T., "Toward Visual Debugging:
Integrating Algorithm Animation Capabilities within a
Source Level Debugger", ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction,
Vol. 1, No. 3, September 1994, pp. 215-244.
Mukherjea, Sougata and Stasko, John T. , "Applying Algorithm Animation
Techniques for Program Tracing, Debugging, and Understanding",
Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Software
Engineering, Baltimore, MD, May 1993, pp. 456-465.