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schwern (1528)

schwern
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Schwern can destroy CPAN at his whim.

Journal of schwern (1528)

Thursday January 03, 2008
10:54 PM

I Want This Code Visualizer

[ #35283 ]

I want this. A thing that let's you visualize how the routines in your program are interconnected and how complex your routines are.

In particular...

* Lines pointing from the current routine to other routines it uses.
* Lines pointing into the current routine from other routines which use it.
* Lines connecting any global (which includes lexicals scoped outside a routine) your touine uses to all other uses of the global to show just how they interconnect (and toss encapsulation out the window).
* A visualization, either with color or length, of the length of each routine.
* A visualization of how deeply nested a routine gets.

Those last two, in particular, are really good, cheap indications of complexity.

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  • I tried something similar in PerlySense, but I consider it a failed experiment.

    In the Overview, there is (well, was) a Signature Survey [cpan.org] of the file, i.e. a char for each type of "thing" in the file (pod blocks, subs, statements, string literals, etc). Like this:

    * Structure *
    ;;;';;;;;;;{;";}{;;;;{}"";{}"";";}{;;;';';";;;{;'";;';;;
    };';}S{;";"";;}S{;' {}{"};;;}S{;;;;";";;};

    I got the idea in an interesting article about Software Archeology [pragprog.com].

    I had hoped it would give me a kind of ambient feel of the structure

  • I have only seen something that breaks code into a flow chart. Nothing so fancy as what you want to see.
  • I saw this [whitney.org] on Reddit just now.

    More cool than useful perhaps, but definitely very cool :)
  • Many years ago I was having trouble remembering how my code interacted with itself, so wrote this [cantrell.org.uk]. It produces a text report of what subroutines call what subroutines, and what subroutines are called by what subroutines.

    The code is hideous, and I wouldn't dream of writing it that way now, but on the other hand it does mostly work, and might make a good starting point. If anyone wants to have a go at improving it, be my guest.