Skip to main content
Restructuring software with gestures
Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC), 2011 IEEE Symposium on (2011)
  • Andrew P. Black, Portland State University

Refactoring is the process of changing the structure of code without changing its meaning, and is a frequent practice among developers. Although programmers refactor frequently, they usually do not use refactoring tools to automate this process. We argue that the need to recall the name of a refactoring before the appropriate tool can be invoked makes it unnecessarily hard to initiate a refactoring with a tool. Conventional ways of initiating a tool also make it hard to transition from novice tool user to expert tool user. The contribution of this paper is a memorable mapping from gestures to refactorings, and an implementation of that mapping in the form of marking menus. In the first reported experiment to explore the effect of the position of items in marking menus on people's ability to infer the location of those items, we asked 16 programmers to complete a paper-based evaluation of our mapping. The results suggest that programmers can infer the gesture that will invoke the appropriate refactoring tool, even if they do not know the name of the refactoring. We also illustrate how marking menus might be used for refactoring during development with two other small studies.

  • Computer software -- Development,
  • Software refactoring
Publication Date
Copyright (2011) IEEE
Citation Information
Andrew P. Black. "Restructuring software with gestures" Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC), 2011 IEEE Symposium on (2011)
Available at: