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  Technical Report: On Dependency Changes in Collaborative Software Development

On Dependency Changes in Collaborative Software Development

Technical Report #:06-01
Author(s): Cleidson de Souza, Gloria Mark, David Redmiles, Li-Te Cheng, John Patterson, David R. Millen
Category(s):Dependency Changes, Software Changes, Empirical Studies, Software Maintenance
Full Citation:Technical Report, Copyright 2006, IBM. All rights reserved.

Abstract

A Collaborative User Experience Technical Report: more about CUE...

In this paper we investigate the phenomena of depend-ency changes, which are changes performed in a software system caused by other changes. Dependency changes are one measure of the level of interdependency in software, therefore, we claim they are a good approximation to the study of dependency management in software develop-ment. Survey responses from 148 software developers indicate that the frequency of occurrence of dependency changes is negatively correlated with project duration, configuration management tool usage, and software de-velopers’ experience both with the programming lan-guage and with the role that they currently play. The data also shows that software developers who communicate more often with their colleagues are less likely to find the situation involving dependency changes in different files problematic. The fact that this does not hold for depend-ency changes in the same file suggests that this situation is more difficult to coordinate, which means that software development tools addressing this aspect need to be con-structed. Additional implications for software develop-ment tools are also discussed.

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