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Development and Evaluation of a Model of Programming Errors

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2003, 00:00 authored by Andrew J. Ko, Brad A. Myers
Models of programming and debugging suggest many causes of errors, and many classifications of error types exist. Yet, there has been no attempt to link causes of errors to these classifications, nor is there a common vocabulary for reasoning about such causal links. This makes it difficult to compare the abilities of programming styles, languages, and environments to prevent errors. To address this issue, this paper presents a model of programming errors based on past studies of errors. The model was evaluated with two observational of Alice, an event-based programming system, revealing that most errors were due to attentional and strategic problems in implementing algorithms, language constructs, and uses of libraries. In general, the model can support theoretical, design, and educational programming research.


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