How Fast and Effectively Can Code Change History Enrich Stack Overflow

Ryujiro Nishinaka, Naoyasu Ubayashi, Yasutaka Kamei, Ryosuke Sato

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Stack Overflow (SO) is one of the most popular QA sites for not only providing valuable information to software developers but also encouraging the sharing of knowledge and problem solving. Unfortunately, the information provided by SO is not always sufficient for developers. In this paper, we empirically show how fast and effectively historical code changes can substitute for missing or unanswered SO articles. Developers in all around the world encounter many problems daily and their trial-And-error experiences to resolve the problems are accumulated in the code change history. The extracted source code differences are expected to provide valuable information to developers before the questions and answers are posted on SO. In our study, we focus on the usage of APIs as the topic of SO articles, because many developers are interested in API programming and suffer from the problems related to API usage. We extracted 4, 780 code differences from 713 repositories of Android applications (F-Droid). As a result, we found that 64% of SO articles on Android APIs are related to code differences, whereas 44% of code differences are related to SO articles. Not a few code differences appear before the corresponding SO articles are actually posted. The median of time lag between the first appearance of code changes and the first actual SO postings is 22 months.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2020 IEEE 20th International Conference on Software Quality, Reliability, and Security, QRS 2020
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages467-478
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781728189130
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Event20th IEEE International Conference on Software Quality, Reliability, and Security, QRS 2020 - Macau, China
Duration: Dec 11 2020Dec 14 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings - 2020 IEEE 20th International Conference on Software Quality, Reliability, and Security, QRS 2020

Conference

Conference20th IEEE International Conference on Software Quality, Reliability, and Security, QRS 2020
Country/TerritoryChina
CityMacau
Period12/11/2012/14/20

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Software

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