How do code documentation efforts spread over class hierarchy?


Inheritance plays an essential role in object-oriented programming languages. It claims to aid in maintaining a software[Booc94a], testing it [Basi90a] and producing a high quality of software[Basi96a]. As a class inherit another class, similarly documentation is also inherited in the subclasses. In java, JavaDoc automatically inherits the superclass method's comments in case there are no method comments provided for the overridden method. However, in practice, how deep the documentation hierarchy goes and how information is spread over different hierarchy level is unknown. For example, In Pharo, 90% of root classes have longer comments than leaf classes. On the other hand, leaf classes can be documented by test cases, separate example class/methods or examples in the comments.


To gather the information on how classes are documented, by class comments, method comments, test cases, or examples and design a visualization to present to the developers.

Research hypothesis

Leaf classes have more examples compared to root classes.