An empirical study on evolution of API documentation

Lin Shi, Hao Zhong, Tao Xie, Mingshu Li

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

With the evolution of an API library, its documentation also evolves. The evolution of API documentation is common knowledge for programmers and library developers, but not in a quantitative form. Without such quantitative knowledge, programmers may neglect important revisions of API documentation, and library developers may not effectively improve API documentation based on its revision histories. There is a strong need to conduct a quantitative study on API documentation evolution. However, as API documentation is large in size and revisions can be complicated, it is quite challenging to conduct such a study. In this paper, we present an analysis methodology to analyze the evolution of API documentation. Based on the methodology, we conduct a quantitative study on API documentation evolution of five widely used real-world libraries. The results reveal various valuable findings, and these findings allow programmers and library developers to better understand API documentation evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFundamental Approaches to Software Engineering - 14th International Conference, FASE 2011, Held as Part of the Joint European Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software, ETAPS 2011, Proceedings
Pages416-431
Number of pages16
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event14th International Conference on Fundamental Approaches to Software Engineering, FASE 2011, Held as Part of the Joint European Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software, ETAPS 2011 - Saarbrucken, Germany
Duration: Mar 26 2011Apr 3 2011

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume6603 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

Other

Other14th International Conference on Fundamental Approaches to Software Engineering, FASE 2011, Held as Part of the Joint European Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software, ETAPS 2011
CountryGermany
CitySaarbrucken
Period3/26/114/3/11

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

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