Software essentially consists of source code and has the property of being physically intangible or invisible. Software becomes tangible by being applied and executing what it was programmed for. What is visible, is the graphical user interface on the desktop or the source code in the backend. However, a graphical user interface does not illustrate the structure of a software. The source code, on the other hand, can provide this insight, but only to a limited extent, since a source code is neither clear nor self-explanatory. This is especially true for complex, modularized software systems in which different components depends on each other.
To visualize software, DLR has developed the program IslandViz. The program represents a virtual island landscape, whereby the islands can be understood as a metaphor. The island landscape represents a modularized software system. The islands should represent the single modules of the software system with their subordinated packages and classes. In addition, IslandViz can represent the dependencies as well as imports and exports between the modules.
IslandViz is designed as a VR/AR application and can be used as a 3D application viaVR headsets such as Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. The application is then controlled by hand controllers. But there is also a Web-based application in 2D. The strength of IslandViz is mainly the display of the dependencies within the single modules.
Overview of the functions
IslandViz is mainly intended for developers and project managers. In the middle of a development process new developers can join a team and easily get an overview of the status quo of the project. Furthermore, our clients for software projects can get a clear impression of the software with IslandViz, for example to illustrate intermediate stages of the development process.