Spike – A code editor plugin highlighting fine-grained changes

Faculty/Professorship: Information Visualisation 
Author(s): Escobar, Ronald; Sandoval Alcocer, Juan Pablo; Tarner, Hagen; Beck, Fabian  ; Bergel, Alexandre
Publisher Information: Bamberg : Otto-Friedrich-Universität
Year of publication: 2023
Pages: 167-171
Source/Other editions: Software Visualization (VISSOFT), 2022 Working Conference on: Proceedings: IEEE, 2023, S. 167-171
is version of: 10.1109/VISSOFT55257.2022.00026
Year of first publication: 2022
Language(s): English
Licence: German Act on Copyright 
URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:473-irb-591928
Information about source code changes is important for many software development activities. As such, modern IDEs, including, IntelliJ IDEA and Visual Studio Code, show visual clues within the code editor that highlight lines that have been changed since the last synchronization with the code repository. However, the granularity of the change information is limited to a line level, showing mainly a small colored icon on the left side of the lines that have been added, deleted, or modified.This paper introduces Spike, a source code highlighting plugin that uses the font color to visually encode fine-grained version difference information within the code editor. In contrast to previously mentioned tools, Spike can highlight insertions, deletions, updates, and refactorings all in a same line. Our plugin also enriches the source code with small icons that allow retrieving detailed information about a given code change. We perform an exploratory user study with five professional software engineers. Our results show that our approach is able to assist practitioners with complex comprehension tasks about software history within the code editor.
GND Keywords: Software; Quellcode; Versionsverwaltung; Visualisierung
Keywords: software visualization, source code editor
DDC Classification: 004 Computer science  
RVK Classification: ST 274   
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Type: Conferenceobject
URI: https://fis.uni-bamberg.de/handle/uniba/59192
Release Date: 11. May 2023

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