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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Reverb: dynamic bookmarks for developers Sawadsky, Nicholas Justin


The web is an increasingly important source of development-related resources, such as code examples, tutorials, and API documentation. Yet existing integrated development environments do little to assist the developer in finding and utilizing these resources. In this work, we explore how to provide useful web page recommendations to developers by focusing on the problem of refinding previously-visited web pages. We present the results of a formative study, in which we measured how often developers return to code-related web pages, and the methods they use to find those pages. Considering only revisits which occurred at least 15 minutes after the previous visit, and are therefore unlikely to be a consequence of browsing search results, we found a code-related recurrence rate of 13.7%. Only 7.4% of these code-related revisits were initiated through a bookmark of some kind, indicating the majority involved some manual effort to refind. To assist developers with code-related revisits, we developed Reverb, a tool which displays a list of dynamic bookmarks that pertain to the code visible in the editor. Reverb’s bookmarks are generated by building queries from the classes and methods referenced in the local code context and running these queries against a full-text index of the developer’s browsing history, as collected from popular browsers used. We describe Reverb’s implementation and present results from a study in which developers used Reverb while working on their own coding tasks. Our results suggest that local code context can help in making useful recommendations.

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