CodeSaw: A social visualization of distributed software development

Eric Gilbert, Karrie Karahalios

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


We present CodeSaw, a social visualization of distributed software development. CodeSaw visualizes a distributed software community from two important and independent perspectives: code repositories and project communication. By bringing together both shared artifacts (code) and the talk surrounding those artifacts (project mail), CodeSaw reveals group dynamics that lie buried in existing technologies. This paper describes the visualization and its design process. We apply CodeSaw to a popular open source project, showing how the visualization reveals group dynamics and individual roles. The paper ends with a discussion of the results of an online field study with prominent open source developers. The field study suggests that CodeSaw positively affects communities and provides incentives to distributed developers. Furthermore, an important design lesson from the field study leads us to introduce a novel interaction technique for social visualization called spatial messaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHuman-Computer Interaction - INTERACT 2007 - 11th IFIP TC 13 International Conference, Proceedings
Number of pages14
EditionPART 2
ISBN (Print)9783540747994
StatePublished - 2007
Event11th IFIP TC 13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, INTERACT 2007 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: Sep 10 2007Sep 14 2007

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
NumberPART 2
Volume4663 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other11th IFIP TC 13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, INTERACT 2007
CityRio de Janeiro

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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