Projects of the Experimental Software Engineering Group at the University of Maryland

Reading Techniques for

Framework Learning


A promising solution to software reuse is object-oriented frameworks (or simply frameworks). A framework is more than a class library: it is a set of classes augmented with a built-in model which defines how the classes work together. Since the model of interaction is domain-specific it is a generic solution within a problem domain. The framework architecture together with its implementation is reused by all specific solutions in that problem domain. In framework-based development, the static structure and dynamic behavior of the framework must first be understood and then adapted to the specific requirements of the application. It is assumed that the effort to learn the framework and develop code within the system is less than the effort required to develop a similar system from scratch. Although it is recognized that the effort required to learn enough about the framework to begin coding is high, especially for novices, little work has been done in the way of minimizing this learning curve.


To understand the process of learning frameworks (or more generally, any unfamiliar system) and develop reading techniques that may minimize the effort expended on framework understanding.


reading technique, example-based learning, hierarchy-based learning, OO frameworks, framework learning, framework understanding, program comprehension, ET++, experimental software engineering


Vic Basili, Gianluigi Caldiera, Filippo Lanubile, Forrest Shull


F. Shull, F. Lanubile, and V. Basili. "Investigating Reading Techniques for Object-Oriented Framework Learning." Accepted for publication by IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering.

F. Shull, F. Lanubile, and V. Basili. "Investigating Reading Techniques for Framework Learning." University of Maryland Technical Report CS-TR-3896. May 1998. (Also available as technical reports UMIACS-TR-98-26 and ISERN-98-16.)

V. Basili, G. Caldiera, F. Lanubile, and F. Shull. "Investigating focused techniques for understanding frameworks." In Proc. of the International Workshop on Empirical Studies of Software Maintenance, Monterey, CA, November 1996.
V. Basili, G. Caldiera, F. Lanubile, and F. Shull. "Studies on reading techniques." In Proc. of the Twenty-First Annual Software Engineering Workshop, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, December 1996. (Software Engineering Laboratory Series, SEL-96-002, pp. 59-65.)

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Last updated: January 13, 2000 by Forrest Shull