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The Uses of Interactive Explorers for Web APIs

Luke Church
8th Workshop on Evaluation and Usability of Programming Languages and Tools (PLATEAU'2017) at SPLASH 2017, ACM


Interactive method invocation has become a common interaction pattern in the documentation of web application programming interfaces (APIs). One of the earliest examples of this pattern being applied at scale is the Google APIs Explorer. In this paper, we describe eight ways developers use such tools in software development, grounded on empirical analyses of the Google APIs Explorer. We then explain the utility of these tools by tying the use cases back to extant literature on programming.