The Design

As alluded to in the previous post, the dependency link view of X-Ray and the Tree Map were two visualizations that I thought might prove particularly useful in presenting our topic information. Incorporating these elements, the design I came up with uses two primary views. The first aims to introduce all of the topics that our tool has found, giving the user an idea of what concepts they encapsulate and how they might relate to each other. The second view presents a single topic in depth, showing the source documents that make it up so that the user can extend their understanding of the abstract concepts in a body of source code to the concrete source that implements the concepts.


Topics Overview

The overview presents all of the topics, along with the top few words that are most associated with each topic and the top few packages or classes that are associated with the topic. This information will hopefully be enough to get an idea of what concepts the topic encompasses. Additionally, this view presents the dependency links between documents in different topics; each time code in one topic refers to code in another topic, that’s represented by a corresponding arrow between the two topics. This should hopefully give the user some general idea of how the concepts relate to each other.


Single Topic View

The single topic view, obtained by clicking on one of the topics in the topic overview, displays the classes that are associated with the topic the user has selected. These are displayed in a tree map according to their place in the package hierarchy, the typical means of organizing code in a system written in Java. The size of any box in the tree map represents a particular variable; at the moment, either that class’s size in lines of code or the degree to which it belongs to the topic it has been placed in. At the moment, to navigate back to the overview the user right clicks anywhere on this view.

And that’s an overview of the design’s goals and how it tries to accomplish them.

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