It Will Never Work in Theory

Short summaries of recent results in empirical software engineering research

2022-09-26: Our Second Live Event
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Mike Hoye

We've wrapped up the Never Work In Theory track at Strange Loop, just announced to be the second last Strange Loop there will be. Dr. Brittany Johnson-Matthews, the primary organizer of our part of that show, did some excellent work to get us here, including choices about who to reach out to and what they might present. You'll see the results of that when the talks start coming online on the Strange Loop YouTube channel. For my part, getting our presenters ready to talk to a practitioner audience (a very different crowd than other academics) was some the most rewarding...

2022-09-19: Do Developers Really Know How to Use Git Commands?
Keywords: Stack Overflow, Tools, Usability
Reviewed by: Kolja Pluemer

Git, aptly described by the paper as a cross-platform and open-source distributed version control tool, is as popular as it is confusing and misunderstood. At least, that is an often expressed sentiment in the software development community. Now, the authors attempt to move this lament from a meme towards a quantitatively established web of validated effects. And they do a good job! In a way, this study may be seen as a complement to more qualitative approaches to the question of Git's usability. Comic expressing the cynical attitude many developers employ towards Git. Yang, Zhang, Pan, Xu, Zhou and Huang...

2022-08-30: Software Engineering Research Questions
Keywords: Research Topics
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Cross-posted from The Third Bit: I have been collecting random software engineering research ideas from friends and colleagues for more than a decade. These are the questions I’ve been asked since I started taking notes ten years ago. I apologize for not keeping track of who wanted to know, but if you’re working on any of these, please get in touch and I’ll try to track them down. Does putting documentation in code (e.g., Python’s docstrings) actually work better than keeping the documentation in separate files, and if so, by what measure(s)? Do doctest-style tests (i.e., tests embedded directly in...

2022-05-31: Margaret-Anne Storey on Productivity
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Margaret-Anne Storey: "What does 'productivity' actually mean for developers?" Margaret-Anne is a Professor at the University of Victoria in Canada. slides | transcript (English) | transcripción (Español)

2022-05-31: Katie Stolee on Searching
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Kathryn Stolee: "To search or not to search: it depends on the question." Katie is an Associate Professor at North Carolina State University. slides | transcript (English) | transcripción (Español)

2022-05-30: Igor Steinmacher on Padding Software Estimates
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Igor Steinmacher: "Negotiation and padding in software project estimates." Igor is an Assistant Professor at the Federal University of Technology - Paraná in Brazil. slides | transcript (English) | transcripción (Español)

2022-05-30: Denae Ford Robinson on Online Community Safety in Software Engineering
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Denae Ford Robinson: "Online community and safety in software engineering." Denae is a Research Scientist at Microsoft Research in the United States. slides | transcript (English) | transcripción (Español)

2022-05-27: Shane McIntosh on Mining Software Build Systems
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Shane McIntosh: "The unintended consequences of mining software build systems." Shane is an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada. slides | transcript (English) | transcripción (Español)

2022-05-27: Brittany Johnson-Matthews on Causal Testing
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Brittany Johnson-Matthews: "Causal testing: understanding the root causes of defects." Brittany is an Assistant Professor at George Mason University in the United States. slides | transcript (English) | transcripción (Español)

2022-05-27: Kelly Blincoe on Destructive Criticism
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Kelly Blincoe: "The effects of destructive criticism in code review." Kelly is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. slides | transcript (English) | transcripción (Español)

2022-05-26: Paige Rodeghero on Onboarding
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Paige Rodeghero: "What we've learned about remote onboarding during the pandemic." Paige is an Assistant Professor at Clemson University in the United States. slides | transcript (English) | transcripción (Español)

2022-05-26: Mei Nagappan on Bias in Evaluating Code Contributions
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Mei Nagappan: "Bias in evaluating code contributions." Mei is an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada. slides | transcript (English) | transcripción (Español)

2022-05-26: Cat Hicks on Fostering a Learning Culture
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Cat Hicks: "Fostering a learning culture in coding teams." Cat, a former intervention researcher at the Khan Academy, is the principal consultant at Carthasis Consulting. slides | transcript (English) | transcripción (Español)

2022-05-25: Andy Zaidman on Testing and Testers
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Andy Zaidman: "Programmer by day, tester by night." Andy Zaidman is a full professor in software engineering at the Delft University of Technology. slides | transcript (English) | transcripción (Español)

2022-05-25: Christoph Treude on Error Messages
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Christoph Treude: "Automatically enhancing error messages." Christoph is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne in Australia. slides | transcript (English) | transcripción (Español)

2022-05-25: Manuel Rigger on Writing Tests
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Manuel Rigger: "How to test software without writing tests." Manuel Rigger is a postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zurich and an incoming Assistant Professor at the National University of Singapore. slides | transcript (English) | transcripción (Español)

2022-05-25: Neil Brown on How Your Mind Learns to Program
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Neil Brown: "How your minds learn to program." Neil is a Research Fellow at King's College London. slides | transcript (English) | transcripción (Español)

2022-05-24: Marian Petre on Expert Thinking About Errors
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Marian Petre: "How expert programmers think about errors." Marian is a Professor at the Open University in the United Kingdom. slides | transcript (English) | transcripción (Español)

2022-05-24: Davide Fucci on Test-Driven Development
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Davide Fucci: "The hidden costs and benefits of TDD." Davide is an Assistant Professor at the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden. slides | transcript (English) | transcripción (Español)

2022-05-24: Maurício Aniche on Testing and Code Coverage
Keywords: Lightning Talks
Reviewed by: Greg Wilson

Maurício Aniche: "How code coverage can be used and abused to guide testing." Maurício is Tech Academy Lead at Adyen and an Assistant Professor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. slides | transcript (English) | transcripción (Español)