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Do Tools Support Code Integration? A Survey

By: Martín Dias, Stéphane Ducasse, Damien Cassou, Verónica Uquillas-Gómez

Abstract

Integrating changes made by other developers is a difficult and tedious process. To understand how to help integrators, we first need to know the main questions they ask themselves while integrating and then relate these questions to the tool support that is needed. With this information, researchers and tool developers will be able to focus on the important questions that have little tool support. In this paper, we report on a 2-step study. In the first step, we did an open call to integrators. We ask them to list questions they ask themselves when they integrate a change. In the second step, based on the questions gathered during the first step and a literature survey, we built a list of 46 questions and run a survey to rank the importance of each question and if the level of tool support was adequate. We present the results we collected. Additionally, we present a taxonomy of the questions according to the kind of information that tools need to answer such questions. We found out that some questions like "Who is the author of this changed code?" are important and have good tool support whereas others like "Do all the changes within the commit belong together? (Can we split the commit?)" are moderately to extremely important and have no tool support.

Keywords

Code integration

Cite as:

Martín Dias, Stéphane Ducasse, Damien Cassou, Verónica Uquillas-Gómez, “Do Tools Support Code Integration? A Survey”, Journal of Object Technology, Volume 15, no. 2 (March 2016), pp. 2:1-20, doi:10.5381/jot.2016.15.2.a2.

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