On Dependency Changes in Collaborative Software Development

In this paper we investigate the phenomena of dependency changes - changes to software systems caused by other changes. Dependency changes are one measure of the level of interdependency in a software module, therefore a good approximation to the study of dependency management in software development. 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 developers’ experience with the programming language and with the role they play. The data also shows that those who communicate more often are less likely to consider dependency changes to different files as a problematic situation. Nevertheless, this does not hold for changes to the same file, what suggests that this situation is more difficult to coordinate. This fact indicates the need for software development tools to address this aspect. Additional implications for software development tools are discussed.

By: Cleidson de Souza; Gloria Mark; David Redmiles; Li-Te Cheng; John Patterson; David Millen

Published in: RC23856 in 2006


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