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How Do Developers Blog? An Exploratory Study
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How Do Developers Blog? An Exploratory Study

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We report on an exploratory study, which aims at understanding how software developers use social media compared to conventional development infrastructures. We analyzed the blogging and the …

We report on an exploratory study, which aims at understanding how software developers use social media compared to conventional development infrastructures. We analyzed the blogging and the committing behavior of 1,100 developers in four large open source communities. We observed that these communities intensively use blogs with one new entry about every 8 hours. A blog entry includes 14 times more words than a commit message. When analyzing the content of the blogs, we found that most popular topics rep- resent high-level concepts such as functional requirements and domain concepts. Source code related topics are covered in less than 15% of the posts. Our results also show that developers are more likely to blog after corrective engineering and management activities than after forward engineering and re-engineering activities. Our findings call for a hypothesis-driven research to further understand the role of social media in software engineering and integrate it into development processes and tools.

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  • 1. How Do Developers Blog?An Exploratory Study
    Dennis Pagano, Technische Universität München
    Walid Maalej, Technische Universität München
  • 2. Integrating Social Media in Software Development
    Executive Summary
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    2
    • We analyzed blogging frequency, post content, and commit messages in 4 open source communities
    • 3. Blog posts exhibit recurrent usage patterns and common topics
    • 4. Relationship between developers’ blogging and committing behavior
    1
    2
  • 5. Outline
    Motivation
    1
    Research Setting
    2
    Research Results
    3
    Summary
    4
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    3
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
  • 6. Motivation
    Many software developers publish information related to their work in blogs
    We do not know how they blog and what they blog
    We also do not understand the connection to “conventional” development activities
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    4
    Towards empirical framework on the role of blogs and other social media in software engineering
  • 7. Outline
    Motivation
    1
    Research Setting
    2
    Research Results
    3
    Summary
    4
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    5
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
  • 8. Research Questions
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    6
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    1. Blog Usage
    • How often do committers and other bloggers post?
    • 9. What are typical elements in a post?
    2. Blog Content
    • Which topics do developers blog about?
    • 10. How popular are these topics across the projects?
    3. Blog Integration
    • Are there publishing patterns in developers’ workflows?
    • 11. Is there a semantic relationship between work performed and information blogged?
  • Research Method
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    7
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
  • 12. Collected Data Sets
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    8
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
  • 13. Outline
    Motivation
    1
    Research Setting
    2
    Research Results
    3
    Summary
    4
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    9
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
  • 14. Blog Usage: Publishing Frequency
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    10
    Mean time between successive posts within a community is about 8.1 hours
    Committersblog on average more frequently(every 26 days) than other bloggers (every 28 days)
    Committers use blogs for longer time periods (about 2.2 years) than other bloggers (about 1.6 years)
  • 15. Blog Usage: Post Structure
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    11
    Posts comprise 150 words on average
    95% are shorter than 1,000 words
    1.8% of posts contain source code paragraphs
    80% of posts contain links
    Committers include more links to Wikis (11%) than other bloggers (8%)
    Committers more frequently link to other blogs (28%) than other bloggers (25%)
    29% of posts contain images
    Committers post more screenshots (22%) than other bloggers (18%)
  • 16. Findings on Blog Usage
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    12
    Regular social activities in the studied open source communities
    1
    Posts are less frequent than commit messages but comprise more content
    2
    Posts rarely contain source code, but frequently high level information and images
    3
    Committers reuse more knowledge than other bloggers
    4
  • 17. Method Used to Analyze Blog Content
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    13
    Set of words per community
    Common topic labels
    Topic category
    Functional requirements & domain concepts
    Requirements
    Non-functional requirements
  • 18. Popular Topics Identified in Blogs
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    14
  • 19. Topic Categories Identified in Blogs
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    15
  • 20. Findings on Blog Content
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    16
    1
    More than half of all posts discuss requirements
    Source code and technical content is less popular
    2
    Blogs comprise more high-level than low-level concepts
    3
    Community-related topics are orthogonal to other topics
    4
  • 21. Blog Integration
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    17
    Categories of Commits Before Blog Posts:
  • 22. Blog Integration Results
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    18
    Most blog posts occur after corrective commits (~36.5%), least after management commits (~19%)
    Conversely blog posts are more likely after corrective (2.6%) or management (2.3%) commits
    15.5% of posts included information previously described in commit messages
    Dependency between commit messages and blog posts decreases with increasing time in-between
  • 23. Findings on Blog Integration
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    19
    Bug fixes and management activities are frequently shared with all stakeholders in a software community
    1
    Developers are more likely to publish information about their recent activities than about old activities
    2
  • 24. Outline
    Motivation
    1
    Research Setting
    2
    Research Results
    3
    Summary
    4
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    20
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
  • 25. Summary of the Talk
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    21
    • Blogging is a regular social activity
    • 26. High level information(screenshots) and knowledge reuse (links)
    • 27. Short documentations, tutorials, howtos
    • 28. Integration of blogging (social) activities
    • 29. Tools for knowledge reuse and topic annotation in blogs
    Blog
    Usage
    • High-level topics like requirements are predominant
    • 30. Low-level topics like source code are less popular
    Blog
    Content
    • Most posts occur after corrective or management commits
    • 31. Developers use blogs to elaborate recent commit messages
    Blog
    Integration
  • 32. Feedback, Questions, Suggestions and Collaboration are Welcome!
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    22
    Dennis Pagano
    TUM
    pagano@cs.tum.edu
    Walid Maalej
    TUM
    maalejw@cs.tum.edu
  • 33. BACKUPS
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    23
  • 34. Blog Content – Most Popular Topics
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
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    24
  • 35. Blog Integration
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    25
    Frequencies of Commit Categories:
  • 36. Blog Integration
    Blogging Probability after Commits
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    26
  • 37. Blog Integration
    Time Dependencies between Blogs and Commits
    Pagano, Maalej, May 2011
    How Do Developers Blog? – MSR 2011
    27