University of Oulu

A. S. Abdelfattah, T. Cerny, D. Taibi and S. Vegas, "Comparing 2D and Augmented Reality Visualizations for Microservice System Understandability: A Controlled Experiment," 2023 IEEE/ACM 31st International Conference on Program Comprehension (ICPC), Melbourne, Australia, 2023, pp. 135-145, doi: 10.1109/ICPC58990.2023.00028.

Comparing 2D and augmented reality visualizations for microservice system understandability : a controlled experiment

Saved in:
Author: Abdelfattah, Amr S.1; Cerny, Tomas1; Taibi, Davide2,3;
Organizations: 1Computer Science of Baylor University, Waco, TX, USA
2Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
3University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-11-02


Microservice-based systems are often complex to understand, especially when their sizes grow. Abstracted views help practitioners with the system understanding from a certain perspective. Recent advancement in interactive data visualization begs the question of whether established software engineering models to visualize system design remain the most suited approach for the service-oriented design of microservices. Our recent work proposed presenting a 3D visualization for microservices in augmented reality. This paper analyzes whether such an approach brings any benefits to practitioners when dealing with selected architectural questions related to system design quality. For this purpose, we conducted a controlled experiment involving 20 participants investigating their performance in identifying service dependency, service cardinality, and bottlenecks. Results show that the 3D enables novices to perform as well as experts in the detection of service dependencies, especially in large systems, while no differences are reported for the identification of service cardinality and bottlenecks. We recommend industry and researchers to further investigate AR for microservice architectural analysis, especially to ease the onboarding of new developers in microservice projects.

see all

Series: Proceedings. IEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension
ISSN: 2643-7147
ISSN-E: 2643-7171
ISSN-L: 2643-7147
ISBN: 979-8-3503-3750-1
ISBN Print: 979-8-3503-3751-8
Volume: 2023-May
Pages: 135 - 145
DOI: 10.1109/ICPC58990.2023.00028
Host publication: 2023 IEEE/ACM 31st International Conference on Program Comprehension (ICPC)
Conference: IEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Copyright information: © 2023 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.