The patchworks code editor: Toward faster navigation with less code arranging and fewer navigation mistakes


Increasingly, people are faced with navigating large information spaces, and making such navigation efficient is of paramount concern. In this paper, we focus on the problems programmers face in navigating large code bases, and propose a novel code editor, Patchworks, that addresses the problems. In particular, Patchworks leverages two new interface idioms-the patch grid and the ribbon-to help programmers navigate more quickly, make fewer navigation errors, and spend less time arranging their code. To validate Patchworks, we conducted a user study that compared Patchworks to two existing code editors: The traditional file-based editor, Eclipse, and the newer canvas-based editor, Code Bubbles. Our results showed (1) that programmers using Patchworks were able to navigate significantly faster than with Eclipse (and comparably with Code Bubbles), (2) that programmers using Patchworks made significantly fewer navigation errors than with Code Bubbles or Eclipse, and (3) that programmers using Patchworks spent significantly less time arranging their code than with Code Bubbles (and comparably with Eclipse). Copyright © 2014 ACM.

Publication Title

Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings