Diagramming code

Ulrich Eckhardt ulrich.eckhardt at dominolaser.com
Mon Jul 16 09:58:46 CEST 2012

Am 16.07.2012 03:57, schrieb hamilton:
> OK then, let me ask, how do you guys learn/understand large projects ?

1. Use the program. This gives you an idea what features are there and a 
bit how it could be structured.
2. Build the program, to see what is done to get the program running. 
This should give you an idea what pieces there are and where they are 
3. Read design documentation (which is too often outdated) which should 
give you an idea what the intention of the project's structure is.
4. Read the code documentation (which is hopefully more up to date). 
This should give you an idea about responsibilities within the code.
5. Read the code itself. This can also be done while single-stepping 
through it with a debugger, just to see it run.

Of course there are also secondary resources like developers' and users' 
mailinglists, websites, bugtrackers that provide information and help.

Sometimes, drawing a few diagrams from steps 3 and 4 to document 
relationships between things is helpful. IMHO having a text describing 
the relationships in prose is superior to that though. In particular a 
diagram can't describe the rationale for something, you need prose for that.



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