The assignee for this patent application, patent application serial number 366941, is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Computer systems and related technology affect many aspects of society. Indeed, the computer system's ability to process information has transformed the way we live and work. Computer systems now commonly perform a host of tasks (e.g., word processing, scheduling, accounting, etc.) that prior to the advent of the computer system were performed manually. More recently, computer systems have been coupled to one another and to other electronic devices to form both wired and wireless computer networks over which the computer systems and other electronic devices can transfer electronic data. Accordingly, the performance of many computing tasks are distributed across a number of different computer systems and/or a number of different computing environments.
"During the development and testing of software, software developers can use a variety of tools. One tool frequently used by software developers is a debugger. A debugger allows a software developer to examine the execution of a computer program. However, using a debugger, or debugging, is a task that typically puts a large strain on a software developer's working memory.
"Some debuggers provide a user interface to display source code files that correspond to the control flow of the computer program being debugged. Use of such 'file-based' debuggers oftentimes requires that a software developer view and manage an overwhelming number of source code files and methods corresponding to program execution.
"Other debuggers provide a user interface that displays a canvas and source code 'bubbles' corresponding to execution of the debugged program. Such 'code bubble-based' debuggers provide a visual representation of the control flow of program execution. Specifically, as methods and functions are called during program execution, corresponding code bubbles are added to the canvas. Each time the debugged program is executed, new code bubbles are added to the canvas, but displaced vertically from the code bubbles added during prior executions of the debugged program. Accordingly, use of such code bubble-based debuggers can require a software developer to view and manage a vast number of canvases and code bubbles relating to execution of a debugged program.
"Unfortunately, debuggers using code bubbles typically lack the ability to reuse code bubbles already present on a debugger canvas. As a result, it can be difficult to provide software developers with a manageable way to understand and conceptualize the control flow of a debugged program. Consequently, when using existing debuggers, software developers can experience difficulties in understanding and conceptualizing the control flow of program. These difficulties are caused at least in part by the amount and/or complexity of onscreen information that software developers must interpret when debugging."
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