Vis-a-Vis: Visual Exploration of Visualization Source Code Evolution
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Developing an algorithm for a visualization prototype often involves the direct comparison of different development stages and design decisions, and even minor modifications may dramatically affect the results. While existing development tools provide visualizations for gaining general insight into performance and structural aspects of the source code, they neglect the central importance of result images unique to graphical algorithms. In this paper, we present a novel approach that enables visualization programmers to simultaneously explore the evolution of their algorithm during the development phase together with its corresponding visual outcomes by providing an automatically updating meta visualization. Our interactive system allows for the direct comparison of all development states on both the visual and the source code level, by providing easy to use navigation and comparison tools. The on-the-fly construction of difference images, source code differences, and a visual representation of the source code structure further enhance the user's insight into the states' interconnected changes over time. Our solution is accessible via a web-based interface that provides GPU-accelerated live execution of C++ and GLSL code, as well as supporting a domain-specific programming language for scientific visualization.