SCG News

Visualising Objects in Pharo

Eve Mendoza Quiros. Visualising Objects in Pharo. Bachelor’s thesis, University of Bern, June 2018. Details.


Object inspection in the Pharo IDE is currently focused on the individual object. The inspection of inter-object relationships is possible in a very limited way, making object set inspection difficult. Understanding the relationship between objects and sets of objects is an important debugging aid and facilitates proper code analysis. In order to efficiently understand code, a visualization of data structures in an interactive graph helps programmers get a thorough conceptual overview. This can save time during debugging as well as code analysis and maintenance. In this thesis a tool is presented that facilitates the visualization of object sets in a graph, in Pharo. The tool highlights the relationships between objects while also conveying important information about each individual object. The strengths of this framework are, first subgraphs persist over different graph renderings, making the comparison of similar sets easy and effectively presenting the set evolution. Second the interactive graph and ability to customize the visualization makes it more understandable and useful to the user. By using this tool in Pharo interesting visualizations can be created since Pharo’s mantra is everything is an object, therefore we can also make graphs containing classes as elements and show the relationships between different classes. The tool facilitates node customization, giving the user the possibility to mold the visualization to fit their needs. For each object an individual node representation can be created. In this thesis we present a node customization for linked lists and for abstract syntax trees. Overall the tool is very intuitive and supports program understanding and debugging.

Posted by scg at 19 June 2018, 7:59 pm comment link

Reproducible moldable interactions

Mario Kaufmann. Reproducible moldable interactions. Masters thesis, University of Bern, April 2018. Details.


Object inspectors are tools that allow developers to explore the state of run-time objects. This exploration creates many interaction events between the developer and the inspector. Recording, saving and using those interactions directly in an inspector opens opportunities to reduce the amount of repetitive actions developers need to do during development and debugging. To make this possible we propose an inspector model that records developer interactions as first-class entities and uses them to reduce repetition. This is enabled through a model that uses a tree to keep track of an inspection session, and a recording infrastructure that allows each widget to decide how user interactions should be recorded. To validate this model, we identify several types of problems that can arise in object inspectors and show how they can be addressed if developer interactions are recorded by the inspector. For example, the new model allows developers to replay inspection sessions, restore partial navigation and generate code from an inspection session.

Posted by scg at 2 May 2018, 11:15 am comment link

Personalized Autism Infographics: A Web Development Project with and for Autistic People

Sara Peeters. Personalized Autism Infographics: A Web Development Project with and for Autistic People. Bachelor’s thesis, University of Bern, April 2018. Details.


Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition influencing a person’s social interaction, communication and sensory perception. Autistic people tend to need a certain level of structure and routine and can often be overwhelmed in day-to-day situations. The fact that autistic people experience the world differently and have different needs than the non-autistic majority often leads to misunderstandings and even conflict situations. So called autism id cards aim to help in such situations, where communication between those unfamiliar with autism and autistic people fails, as well as to raise awareness in general. Their usefulness is, however, limited by the fact that the autism spectrum is rather broad, and the explanations on the cards are very general. This project wants to build on the idea of autism id cards by developing a digitalized, personalizable version of them. It consists of a web app where autistic people can click and write together one or more personalized infographics and make them available to the people they choose through an automatically generated link, or save them on their phone. The project is iteratively developed in partnership with the psychiatric department of the hospital of Frutigen, Meiringen, Interlaken. The input of autistic adults, parents of autistic children, friends and caretakers as potential users is taken into account at various stages of the development through surveys and usability testing. Through the modularity of the infographics and the free text options in each module, the possibilities for personalization are endless. At the same time the preformulated statements, and the example infographics that can be used as a starting point for customization, provide enough guidance for users not to get lost. While the end result is not yet ready for large scale public use, it is a solid proof of concept with extensive functionality.

Posted by scg at 19 April 2018, 3:15 pm comment link

Renraku — the One Static Analysis Model to Rule Them All

Yuriy Tymchuk, Mohammad Ghafari, and Oscar Nierstrasz. Renraku — the One Static Analysis Model to Rule Them All. In IWST’17: Proceedings of International Workshop on Smalltalk Technologies, 2017. Details.


Most of the static analyzers are monolithic applications that define their own ways to analyze source code and present the results. Therefore aggregating multiple static analyzers into a single tool or integrating a new analyzer into existing tools requires a significant amount of effort. Over the last few years, we cultivated Renraku — a static analysis model that acts as a mediator between the static analyzers and the tools that present the reports. When used by both analysis and tool developers, the single quality model can reduce the cost to both introduce a new type of analysis to existing tools or create a tool that relies on existing analyzers.

Posted by scg at 20 March 2018, 12:15 pm comment link

Replication Mechanisms for Reference Data

Tanja Leigh Küry. Replication Mechanisms for Reference Data. Bachelor’s thesis, University of Bern, March 2018. Details.


Growing numbers of applications interacting with each other facilitate the need to share data between various systems. The interconnected applications used to manage immigrant and asylee need the same reference data in order to consistently fulfil their purpose. This thesis examines the used replication mechanism requiring direct database access and proposes an improved design. By analysing the situation and validating alternative replication mechanisms that adhere to the defined architectural standards it was possible to propose two realistic approaches, one of which is already in development. A proof of concept using a message oriented middleware showed that extending the architecture concept might even be more future-oriented.

Posted by scg at 20 March 2018, 9:15 am comment link
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