Tech Report CS-91-32

On the Use of Annotations for Integrating the Source in a Program Development Environment

Steven P. Reiss

April 1991


A central problem in building a program development system is how to integrate the various tools so that the user sees a single view. This integration involves providing a common user interface to the tools, providing a backbone within the program development system that allows the tools to communicate with each other, and providing consistent access to the program for the user. In this paper we examine the use of annotations and an editor that supports annotations as a means for providing common access to the program source for a variety of tools within an open program development system. We show that annotations provide a convenient and consistent way of relating tool output to to the source and of initiating commands in the different tools based on the source. We do this by presenting our approach to annotation editing and examining several of the design issues that arose during its development.

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