Saturday, October 04, 2008

Code Spelunking

This month's CACM practice column features the article
Code Spelunking Redux
by George V. Neville-Neil. In plain English the title means Having another look at code exploration as spelunking seems to be an US pun on speleology, the scientific study of caves.

The subtitle of the article is
Is it getting any easier to understand other people’s code?
He refers to a prior article of his, where he wrote about the tools global, Cscope, gprof, ktrace and trace which help him to understand other people's code. George is a FreeBSD developer (you can listen to him via this bsdtalk podcast) and in true Unix fashion, he prefers a set of good tools instead of an all-in-one IDE.

This article is about two new tools he added to his set: Doxygen and DTrace.

I found it quite interesting and relevant. Be it that you are an open source developer like George or you are involved in developing or maintaining a large piece of software, you will most likely have to deal with large chunks of code written by other people or even generated code.