Automatic Retrieval of Program Design Information From Source Code
Original Publication Date: 1988-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-15
Computer programs often need to be altered after they have been written. Before doing so, the program usually needs to be "reverse engineered" to discover what it does, how it does it and why it does it that way. Such reverse engineering uses up a very great deal of programmer time. If a program is well documented, reverse engineering should be greatly simplified. Instead of attempting to discover WHAT, HOW, and WHY, the programmer can read the original programmer's explanations. Programmers traditionally document their designs in two ways. They write comments within the programs and they write separate design documentation. Each of these has had drawbacks. Separate documentation gets lost and out of date. It gets lost because filing systems are reorganized every so often.