Accession Number : ADA115632

Title :   An Empirical Evaluation of Language-Tailored PDLs.

Descriptive Note : Technical rept.,


Personal Author(s) : Boehm-Davis,Deborah A ; Sheppard,Sylvia B ; Bailey,John W ; Kruesi,Elizabeth

PDF Url : ADA115632

Report Date : May 1982

Pagination or Media Count : 49

Abstract : Recent research in the area of program documentation has demonstrated a superiority for coding with a detailed design written in a Program Design language (PDL) over other formats such as flowcharts. Because PDL is more code-like than other formats, there is less translation required in mapping from the design to the code. If the amount of translation is a critical underlying factor, the optimal PDL for any given implementation will be one that is tailored toward the particular language being used. This experiment evaluated the effectiveness of using a PDL specifically designed to aid in coding the corresponding programming language. This was done by designing PDLs which reflected the syntax and features of particular programming languages and by examining the performance of programmers coding from these various PDLs in one of two implementation languages. The results showed that (a) it took longer to code programs in MACRO-11 than in FORTRAN, (b) the shortest time to code the programs occurred when the coding language of the PDL matched the actual coding language, and (c) the errors made in coding while the type of problem did. The data suggest that programmers produce code most quickly from a form of documentation that is closest to the code. This research suggests that providing detailed design information in terms of a language-specific PDL will lead to a shorter coding period than when a language-independent PDL is used.

Descriptors :   *Programming languages, *Syntax, *Transformational grammars, *Test and evaluation, Structures, Human factors engineering, High level languages, Computer programs, Systems engineering, Programming manuals, Computer program documentation

Subject Categories : Computer Programming and Software

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE