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2015 IEEE 23rd International Conference on Program Comprehension (ICPC) (2015)
Florence, Italy
May 18, 2015 to May 19, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4673-8158-1
pp: 25-35
Developing software is a complex mental activity, requiring extensive technical knowledge and abstraction capabilities. The tangible part of development is the use of tools to read, inspect, edit, and manipulate source code, usually through an IDE (integrated development environment). Common claims about software development include that program comprehension takes up half of the time of a developer, or that certain UI (user interface) paradigms of IDEs offer insufficient support to developers. Such claims are often based on anecdotal evidence, throwing up the question of whether they can be corroborated on more solid grounds. We present an in-depth analysis of how developers spend their time, based on a fine-grained IDE interaction dataset consisting of ca. 740 development sessions by 18 developers, amounting to 200 hours of development time and 5 million of IDE events. We propose an inference model of development activities to precisely measure the time spent in editing, navigating and searching for artifacts, interacting with the UI of the IDE, and performing corollary activities, such as inspection and debugging. We report several interesting findings which in part confirm and reinforce some common claims, but also disconfirm other beliefs about software development.
Mice, Keyboards, Navigation, Browsers, Inspection, Software, History

R. Minelli, A. Mocci and M. Lanza, "I Know What You Did Last Summer - An Investigation of How Developers Spend Their Time," 2015 IEEE 23rd International Conference on Program Comprehension (ICPC), Florence, Italy, 2015, pp. 25-35.
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