Today, I was chatting with a developer on how she documents her code. One of the technique that she uses is that of making a small ASCII map of the functions of the class and embed that in the comments at the beginning of each class. This is a nice trick because it does not require to use external files for documenting the code that do not get used anyway.
Now, discussing with my colleague Andrew Begel, we had this idea of a plugin for VISIO that could eventually make the job much easier. VISIO is great to make box diagrams and add labels: in two seconds you can have something interesting to look at. However VISIO exports in a variety of formats that are not suited for a direct embedding in textual files.
So, our “submarine project” for the summer will be coding this plugin for exporting from VISIO to ASCII art and back. I think is going to be fun!
Tags: art, ASCII, software visualization, universal cognitive distance, usability, user experience