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How Software Engineers Use Documentation: The State of the Practice
November/December 2003 (vol. 20 no. 6)
pp. 35-39
Timothy C. Lethbridge, University of Ottawa
Janice Singer, National Research Council
Andrew Forward, Deloitte Consulting

Three large industrial studies explored how software engineers use and maintain documentation. The studies confirm the widely held belief that most software engineers don?t update most software documentation in a timely manner. The only notable exception is documentation types that are highly structured and easy to maintain, such as test cases and inline comments. The studies also show that out-of-date documentation, especially that containing high-level abstractions, might remain useful.

Index Terms:
D.210.b Design notations and documentation, D.2.7.c Documentation, D.2.17g Code documentation
Citation:
Timothy C. Lethbridge, Janice Singer, Andrew Forward, "How Software Engineers Use Documentation: The State of the Practice," IEEE Software, vol. 20, no. 6, pp. 35-39, Nov.-Dec. 2003, doi:10.1109/MS.2003.1241364
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