Seeking the Source

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Short Description[edit]

In distributed software development, the structure of the software system itself can create dependencies between software elements, while the structure of the development process can create dependencies between software developers. The paper uncovers the structures of software projects and the ways in which development processes are inscribed into software artifacts. With open source communities as an example, a range of organizational processes and arrangements are uncovered in software repositories.

Software development, then, is a particularly fruitful domain in which to study the relationship between technological artifacts and the social structures that shape them.
[De Souza et al., 2005]


The following images show specific visualizations by the "Augur" software.

Augur Overview[edit]

Sts01 overview.png

This image shows the overview screen of the Augur software. You can see the different visualisations. As an example the big top part of the image, that shows a representation of source code (lines of code are represented by a line of pixels of certain length). The different colors show, when a part of the source code was last edited.

Network structures[edit]

Sts02 participation.png

This image visualizes different types of networking:
In a) you can see that the source code of the "surrounding" developers is only called by the code of the author in center. That shows a very centralized network. The author in the center represents the system's architect, who calls the code of other developers. In b) there's a little different situation. A tight network of few authors builds the core of the system, which calls methodes from a few other authors. Finally c) represents a mixture of a) and b). You can't find a defined system core, but a more or less tight network of seven developers. You can also see a periphery of four other developers. Their code just interact with the "core network" but not with each other's.


Sts03 shifting1.png

Here you can see developer's code in the software project shifting from a peripheral to a central role. In a) the developer only gabs code of the remaining software (i.e. his code is an interface), where in b) other parts of the software also use his code (i.e. they're implementing the interface). In this example you can see very good, how methodes get stronger integrated into the software.


Sts04 authorship.png

In a) (left) you can see a software project relied on a few authors. Open source projects allow developers to join the development team of the software and make changes of the source code. If a new author "overtakes" parts of another author's code by e.g. changing it more often than the original author. So in a) (right) you can see that after some time, a few more developers are involved in the development and they overtake other author's code. In b) you see an example that shows this process vice versa.


Sts05 stability1.png Sts05 stability2.png

"These graphs show, how the structure of the source code (...) is being uset to structure the activities of the developers." [De Souza et al., 2005] In 6/a) you see a implemented module by a certain author. In 7/a) you see, that over some time, nothing has changed. The author is still the main developer of this module. Otherwise, the implemented module in 6/b) was distributet to a certain number of other developers after some time (7/b).

Suitable for which data types[edit]

This visualization method is most suitable for source code. Properties of the software system and the source code itself are mapped to color and other features of a graphical display. Dependencies between methods (e.g. method A calls method B) and other parts of the source code are visualized. Also relationships between programmers can be graphically displayed. With this method it is easy to understand how different programmers are involved in the code production process and how their methods towards or away from the system's core. Even code ownerships can be tracked.


In our informal evaluations, developers involved in distributed software development projects relied upon both the activity information and the structure information in coordination to develop a holistic view of software development activity.
[De Souza et al., 2005]


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