JAN
9
2003

KOffice 1.2.1 Supported by DRT Design Recovery Tool

DRT is a design recovery tool for interactive graphical applications running under X Windows. The tool automatically captures actions performed while using such an application. Functions particularly relevant to each action are highlighted. Moreover, the action itself is described
visually from fragments of the application display. One can search and browse these actions to learn about the design of an application. The latest version, DRT 0.2.2, now supports shared libraries, which allows applications such as those in KOffice to work. This version also includes template drt files for all KOffice 1.2.1 applications for easy instrumentation

Comments

This is outright *awesome*!

/kidcat


By Anders Juel Jensen at Thu, 2003/01/09 - 6:00am

Yep, this looks great.

If only it could be turned into a valgrind plugin ... so that no source instrumentation is needed.
Yes I know, we are being spoiled and lazy since valgrind exists :)

(The point is that the least time it gets to set it up, the most useful it is. If it takes too much time to set it up everytime one needs it, other debugging techniques will still be preferred).

David, who has bad memories of the instrumentation recompiles for Insure...
(and the docu for DRT indicates that it's the same kind of nightmare there....)


By David Faure at Thu, 2003/01/09 - 6:00am

Hi,

We will look into valgrind. However, even if it does
allow us to obtain (caller,callee) information upon
every function call and exit --- including those in shared
libraries and without too much of a slow down in the application
execution --- we would still need to recompile the application
code.

Currently, DRT patches the source of the application to make
it run in a way suited to DRT. In particular, this involves
two things:

* having a non-blinking cursor in a color different from the
rest of the application display; this allows us to
easily track the cursor from screenshots (so that we can
zoom in on the user's focus in an action)

* preventing frequent polling, which currently confuses the
DRT action detection mechanism

While we hope to remove the second requirement soon, the cursor
issue will still remain. One could imagine heuristics that automatically
find the cursor, but what happens if the blinking cursor was off during the screenshot?
Also, what happens if the application uses a non-standard cursor, such as kspread?

To alleviate the burden of instrumentation, we have already provided
scripts to automate the procedure for LyX 1.2.1 and KOffice 1.2.1.
We hope to have more scripts soon.

In the near future, we plan to provide p2p networking so that users
can easily search and browse action collections created by others.
This means that it is possible to use the tool to understand the design
of an application without having to do any demonstrations/instrumentation yourself.

We also plan to provide collaborative commenting, so not only would users
share their action collections, but they could also comment on code that
they have finally understood and others would benefit from those comments/analyses as well.

UNSW DRT Team


By UNSW DRT Team at Sat, 2003/01/11 - 6:00am

Where does the "kde" come in on your title to this?

Where are you located?

I run a small business in Glastonbury, CT and sell instrumentation.

My wife is Kathleen, so our initials spell KDE.

Perhaps you will be so kind as to reply to this Email, to satisfy my curiosity.

Will you please?

Thanks, Don


By Don Eberhardt at Thu, 2004/11/18 - 6:00am

How about visiting http://www.kde.org ?


By Anonymous at Thu, 2004/11/18 - 6:00am

Pretty neat.


By shm at Thu, 2003/01/09 - 6:00am

Although i took a look at the webpage i do not understand
how and when to use. I hope i am not the only one.

May be someone is so kind and could explain it in a dummy proof way ;o)

For example i do not know what is meant by execution bursts.

If i understood correctly "execution burst consists of the methods called"
means that the programm checks code-execution on the code/programming base ?!

Does this mean DRT will help you to pay attention to the more important code lines and to improve them first ?

Thanks for any reply.

Kudos to the kdeteam for 3.1 ASA gentoo 1.4 is out i will install it at my home
machine.

best regards.

sincerly your anonymous coward


By anonymous coward at Thu, 2003/01/09 - 6:00am

Hi,

It's hard to explain in only a few words. We recommend
reading our paper:

http://citeseer.nj.nec.com/536115.html

(You can download it in several formats or view
it as a graphic; see the links in the top right corner.)

This should give you a better idea of what we are trying to achieve,
including future work. The paper contains some technical material,
but this can be skipped if you are just interested in understanding
the point of the tool.

UNSW DRT Team


By UNSW DRT Team at Sat, 2003/01/11 - 6:00am

Please don't write "X Windows": man X


By Manfred Tremmel at Sat, 2003/01/11 - 6:00am