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Work practices and challenges in pull-based development the contributor's perspective


Gousios, Georgios; Storey, Margaret-Anne; Bacchelli, Alberto (2016). Work practices and challenges in pull-based development the contributor's perspective. In: 38th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), Austin, Texas, 14 June 2016 - 22 June 2016, 285-296.

Abstract

The pull-based development model is an emerging way of contributing to distributed software projects that is gaining enormous popularity within the open source software (OSS) world. Previous work has examined this model by focusing on projects and their owners---we complement it by examining the work practices of project contributors and the challenges they face.
We conducted a survey with 645 top contributors to active OSS projects using the pull-based model on GitHub, the prevalent social coding site. We also analyzed traces extracted from corresponding GitHub repositories. Our research shows that: contributors have a strong interest in maintaining awareness of project status to get inspiration and avoid duplicating work, but they do not actively propagate information; communication within pull requests is reportedly limited to low-level concerns and contributors often use communication channels external to pull requests; challenges are mostly social in nature, with most reporting poor responsiveness from integrators; and the increased transparency of this setting is a confirmed motivation to contribute. Based on these findings, we present recommendations for practitioners to streamline the contribution process and discuss potential future research directions.

Abstract

The pull-based development model is an emerging way of contributing to distributed software projects that is gaining enormous popularity within the open source software (OSS) world. Previous work has examined this model by focusing on projects and their owners---we complement it by examining the work practices of project contributors and the challenges they face.
We conducted a survey with 645 top contributors to active OSS projects using the pull-based model on GitHub, the prevalent social coding site. We also analyzed traces extracted from corresponding GitHub repositories. Our research shows that: contributors have a strong interest in maintaining awareness of project status to get inspiration and avoid duplicating work, but they do not actively propagate information; communication within pull requests is reportedly limited to low-level concerns and contributors often use communication channels external to pull requests; challenges are mostly social in nature, with most reporting poor responsiveness from integrators; and the increased transparency of this setting is a confirmed motivation to contribute. Based on these findings, we present recommendations for practitioners to streamline the contribution process and discuss potential future research directions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Informatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
Language:English
Event End Date:22 June 2016
Deposited On:24 Aug 2018 13:20
Last Modified:20 Oct 2019 05:53
Publisher:Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Series Name:Proceedings of the International Conference on Software Engineering Companion
ISBN:9781450339001
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/2884781.2884826
Related URLs:https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.46063 (Author)
http://2016.icse.cs.txstate.edu/ (Organisation)
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:16636

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