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Human-Centered Approach to Static-Analysis-Driven Developer Tools

By Ayman Nadeem

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 65 No. 3, Pages 38-45

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Correctly harnessing static-analysis techniques in the design of developer tools relies on understanding human intuition. Research advances in the field continue to open up possibilities about the type of information that can be derived about a program's runtime behavior. Distilling this information into a valuable set of insights for developers depends on asking not only what is computationally feasible, but also what is intuitive and useful in the context of solving complex problems.

Several outcomes are made possible through static analysis, including but not limited to the detection of anomalies, security vulnerabilities, dead code, and other possible optimizations. Understanding how such outputs can be translated into an effective interface—one that enhances the experience of software engineering, its ergonomics, and usability—directly impacts the successful application of static-analysis research in future software development.


Caleb Allen

What an insightful and cutting review of the state of the craft.

The culture of "hoarding" information you write of is as prevalent as ever, and is self-defeating for the long term health of the industry. As much as programmers would like to think that these are technical problems to be solved with more information and more code, the industry would benefit greatly from placing Humans first, and Computers second.

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