Telescope: Fine-tuned discovery of interactive web UI feature implementation

Joshua Hibschman, Haoqi Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Professional websites contain rich interactive features that developers can learn from, yet understanding their implementation remains a challenge due to the nature of unfamiliar code. Existing tools provide affordances to analyze source code, but feature-rich websites reveal tens of thousands of lines of code and can easily overwhelm the user. We thus present Telescope, a platform for discovering how JavaScript and HTML support a website interaction. Telescope helps users understand unfamiliar website code through a composite view they control by adjusting JavaScript detail, scoping the runtime timeline, and triggering relational links between JS, HTML, and website components. To support these affordances on the open web, Telescope instruments the JavaScript in a website without request intercepts using a novel sleightof-hand technique, then watches for traces emitted from the website. In a case study across seven popular websites, Telescope helped identify less than 150 lines of front-end code out of tens of thousands that accurately describe the desired interaction in six of the sites. In an exploratory user study, we observed users identifying difficult programming concepts by developing strategies to analyze relatively small amounts of unfamiliar website source code with Telescope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUIST 2016 - Proceedings of the 29th Annual Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages233-245
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781450345316
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 16 2016
Event29th Annual Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, UIST 2016 - Tokyo, Japan
Duration: Oct 16 2016Oct 19 2016

Publication series

NameUIST 2016 - Proceedings of the 29th Annual Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology

Other

Other29th Annual Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, UIST 2016
CountryJapan
CityTokyo
Period10/16/1610/19/16

Keywords

  • Inspecting
  • JavaScript
  • Reverse engineering
  • Tracing
  • Web

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Software

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  • Cite this

    Hibschman, J., & Zhang, H. (2016). Telescope: Fine-tuned discovery of interactive web UI feature implementation. In UIST 2016 - Proceedings of the 29th Annual Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (pp. 233-245). (UIST 2016 - Proceedings of the 29th Annual Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology). Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1145/2984511.2984570