Patterns of developers behaviour: A 1000-hour industrial study
Di Penta M
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Monitoring developers’ activity in the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and, in general, in their working environment, can be useful to provide context to recommender systems, and, in perspective, to develop smarter IDEs. This paper reports results of a long (about 1000 h) observational study conducted in an industrial environment, in which we captured developers’ interaction with the IDE, with various applications available in their workstation, and related them with activities performed on source code files. Specifically, the study involved six developers working on three software systems and investigated (i) how much time developers spent on various activities and how they shift from one activity to another (ii) how developers navigate through the software architecture during their task, and (iii) how the complexity and readability of source code may trigger further actions, such as requests for help or browsing/changing other files. Results of our study suggest that: (i) not surprisingly, developers spend most or their time (∼ 61%) in development activities while the usage of online help is limited (2%) but intensive in specific development sessions; (ii) developers often execute the system under development after working on code, likely to verify the effect of applied changes on the system’s behaviour; (iii) while working on files having a high complexity, developers tend to more frequently execute the system as well as to use more online help websites.