Oregon State University



Event Details

MS Final Examination – Sruti Srinivasa Ragavan

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Version Control Systems: An Information Foraging Perspective
Software history and version control systems (VCS) are an important source of information for developers. This importance entails the need for a principled understanding of developers’ information seeking in VCS, both for improving existing tools as well as understanding requirements for new tools. However, it is only recently that researchers have started investigating how developers use VCS.

In this thesis, we take a theory-based approach to understanding developers’ information seeking in VCS. Using the foundations of Information Foraging Theory (IFT), we analyze the data from a prior empirical study, to gain new perspectives into developers’ information seeking in VCS. Our results indicate that participants engaged in foraging behavior; therefore, tool builders can leverage IFT’s design insights and patterns to VCS design.

Further, our results reveal that participants’ change-awareness foraging differed subtly from traditional foraging and calls for further investigation. Similarly, participants attempted to create commits that suited the needs of future foragers. However, balancing the tensions between different foraging activities or between different people (e.g., different commit size preferences) is a hard problem and presents an opportunity for further research at the intersection of IFT and software engineering.

Major Advisor: Margaret Burnett
Committee: Anita Sarma
Committee: Eric Walkingshaw
GCR: Cindy Grimm

Kelley Engineering Center (campus map)
Calvin Hughes
1 541 737 3168
Calvin.Hughes at oregonstate.edu
Sch Elect Engr/Comp Sci
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