Developer Belief vs. Reality: The Case of the Commit Size Distribution

Abstract: The design of software development tools follows from what the developers of such tools believe is true about software development. A key aspect of such beliefs is the size of code contributions (commits) to a software project. In this paper, we show that what tool developers think is true about the size of code contributions is different by more than an order of magnitude from reality. We present this reality, called the commit size distribution, for a large sample of open source and selected closed source projects. We suggest that these new empirical insights will help improve software development tools by aligning underlying design assumptions closer with reality.

Keywords: Commit size; commit size distribution; code contribution; open source; closed source; software engineering; tool usability

Reference: Dirk Riehle, Carsten Kolassa, Michel A. Salim. “Developer Belief vs. Reality: The Case of the Commit Size Distribution.” In Proceedings of Software Engineering 2012 (SE ’12). Springer Verlag, 2012. Page 59-70.

The paper is available as a PDF file. The survey used in the paper is also available as a PDF file.

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