Publications in Scientific Journals:
T. Scheller, E. Kühn:
"Automated measurement of API usability: The API Concepts Framework";
Information and Software Technology,
Context: Usability is an important software quality attribute for APIs. Unfortunately, measuring it is not
an easy task since many things like experienced evaluators, suitable test users, and a functional product
are needed. This makes existing usability measurement methods difficult to use, especially for nonprofessionals.
Objective: To make API usability measurement easier, an automated and objective measurement method
would be needed. This article proposes such a method. Since it would be impossible to find and integrate
all possible factors that influence API usability in one step, the main goal is to prove the feasibility of the
introduced approach, and to define an extensible framework so that additional factors can easily be
defined and added later.
Method: A literature review is conducted to find potential factors influencing API usability. From these
factors, a selected few are investigated more closely with usability studies. The statistically evaluated
results from these studies are used to define specific elements of the introduced framework. Further,
the influence of the user as a critical factor for the framework´s feasibility is evaluated.
Results: The API Concepts Framework is defined, with an extensible structure based on concepts that represent
the user´s actions, measurable properties that define what influences the usability of these concepts,
and learning effects that represent the influence of the user´s experience. A comparison of values calculated
by the framework with user studies shows promising results.
Conclusion: It is concluded that the introduced approach is feasible and provides useful results for evaluating
API usability. The extensible framework easily allows to add new concepts and measurable properties
in the future.
API usability; API design; Complexity measures; Metrics
"Official" electronic version of the publication (accessed through its Digital Object Identifier - DOI)
Created from the Publication Database of the Vienna University of Technology.