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An Empirical Study on Evolution of API Documentation

An Empirical Study on Evolution of API Documentation,10.1007/978-3-642-19811-3_29,Lin Shi,Hao Zhong,Tao Xie,Mingshu Li

An Empirical Study on Evolution of API Documentation   (Citations: 1)
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With the evolution of an API library, its documentation also evolves. The evolution of API documentation is common knowledge for programmers and library developers, but not in a quantitative form. Without such quantitative knowledge, programmers may neglect important revisions of API documentation, and library developers may not effectively improve API documentation based on its revision histories. There is a strong need to conduct a quantitative study on API documentation evolution. However, as API documentation is large in size and revisions can be complicated, it is quite challenging to conduct such a study. In this paper, we present an analysis methodology to analyze the evolution of API documentation. Based on the methodology, we conduct a quantitative study on API documentation evolution of five widely used real-world libraries. The results reveal various valuable findings, and these findings allow programmers and library developers to better understand API documentation evolution.
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