Technical Report Number
Source code on the web is a widely available and potentially rich learning resource for non-programmers. However, unfamiliar code can be daunting to end-users without programming experience. This paper describes the results of an exploratory study in which we asked non-programmers to find and modify the code responsible for specific functionality within unfamiliar programs. We present two interacting models of how non-programmers approach this problem: the Task Process Model and the Landmark-Mapping model. Using these models, we describe code search strategies non-programmers employed and the difficulties they encountered. Finally, we propose guidelines for future programming environments that support non-programmers in finding functionality in unfamiliar programs.
Gross, Paul and Kelleher, Caitlin, "Non-programmers Identifying Functionality in Unfamiliar Code: Strategies and Barriers" Report Number: wucse-2009-5 (2009). All Computer Science and Engineering Research.