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Documenting APIs with Examples: Lessons Learned with the APIMiner Platform (WCRE 2013)

by ASERG, DCC, UFMG

Published October 15, 2013 in Research

Software development increasingly relies on Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to increase productivity. However, learning how to use new APIs in many cases is a nontrivial task given their ever-increasing complexity. To help developers during the API learning process, we describe in this paper a platform—called APIMiner—that instruments the standard Java-based API documentation format with concrete examples of usage. The examples are extracted from a private source code repository—composed by real systems—and summarized using a static slicing algorithm. We also describe a particular instantiation of our platform for the Android API. To evaluate the proposed solution, we performed a field study, when professional Android developers used the platform by four months.