sketch3 sketch1 sketch2

Abstract

Sketches and diagrams play an important role in the daily work of software developers. In our paper “Sketches and Diagrams in Practice” we present the results of our research on the usage of sketches and diagrams in software engineering practice. We focused especially on their relation to the core elements of a software project, the source code artifacts. Furthermore, we wanted to assess how helpful sketches are for understanding the related source code. We intended to find out if, how, and why sketches and diagrams are archived and are thereby available for future use. Software is created with and for a wide range of stakeholders. Since sketches are often a means for communicating between these stakeholders, we were not only interested in sketches and diagrams created by software developers, but by all software practitioners, including testers, architects, project managers, as well as researchers and consultants. In a survey with 394 software ‘practitioners’, we mainly asked questions about the the last sketch or diagram that they had created. Contrary to our expectations and previous work, the majority of sketches and diagrams contained at least some UML elements. However, most of them were informal. The most common purposes for creating sketches and diagrams were designing, explaining, and understanding, but analyzing requirements was also named often. More than half of the sketches and diagrams were created on analog media like paper or whiteboards and have been revised after creation. Most of them were used for more than a week and were archived. About half of the sketches were rated as helpful to understand the related source code artifact(s) in the future. Our study complements a number of existing studies on the use of sketches and diagrams in software development, which analyzed the above aspects only in parts and often focused on an academic environment, a single company, open source projects, or were limited to a small group of participants.

Online Survey

Our research included an online survey with 394 participants (the questionnaire was online from August 28, 2013 until December 31, 2013). Further information on our research design and research questions can be found in the paper. A link to the questionnaire we used for the survey can be found below. To enable other researchers to explore the data collected during this survey, we make it publicly available as a CSV file. We also provide a basic R script that can be used as a starting point for validating our results and further exploring the data. The data set was reviewed and accepted by the Artifact Evaluation Committee of FSE 2014. Since we assured our participants that their data is handled confidentially, only the quantitative data is directly available here. If you are also interested in the qualitative data from our survey, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Available Data: AEC Badge

  • Questionnaire: HTML
  • Survey Data: CSV
  • Analysis Script: R

Cite the dataset as:

Sketches and Diagrams in Practice — Supplementary Material.
Sebastian Baltes and Stephan Diehl.
http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.818277

The dataset is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publications

Sketches and Diagrams in Practice.
Sebastian Baltes and Stephan Diehl.
Proceedings of the 22nd ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE 2014).
Acceptance rate: 22% (61/273).
PreprintarXivSlidesPoster

Effects of Sketching on Program Comprehension (Research Plan).
Sebastian Baltes and Stefan Wagner.
Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Agile Processes in Software Engineering and Extreme Programming (XP 2016)
Acceptance rate: 38% (5/13).
Preprint

Talks and Posters

Sketches and Diagrams in Practice (Lightning Talk and Poster).
Sebastian Baltes and Stephan Diehl.
Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Agile Processes in Software Engineering and Extreme Programming (XP 2016)
PosterSlides

Sketches and Diagrams in Practice (Talk).
Sebastian Baltes and Stephan Diehl.
University of Stuttgart (TRR 161).
Slides

Sketches and Diagrams in Practice (Talk).
Sebastian Baltes and Stephan Diehl.
TU Delft.
Slides

Sketches and Diagrams in Practice (Talk).
Sebastian Baltes and Stephan Diehl.
LNI 239, GI Software Engineering & Management 2015 (SE 2015).
Slides

Sketches and Diagrams in Practice (Poster).
Sebastian Baltes and Stephan Diehl.
6th International Workshop on Social Software Engineering (SSE 2014).
Poster

Sketches and Diagrams in Practice (Talk).
Sebastian Baltes and Stephan Diehl.
22nd ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE 2014).
Slides

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