Souza, Jairo, Rodrigo Lima, Baldoino Fonseca, Bruno Cartaxo, Márcio Ribeiro, Gustavo Pinto, Rohit Gheyi, & Alessandro Garcia (2021, November). Developers’ viewpoints to avoid bug-introducing changes. Information and Software Technology, art. 106766. (ePub in advance of print) (Link:

Abstract: Context: During software development, developers can make assumptions that guide their development practices to avoid bug-introducing changes. For instance, developers may consider that code with low test coverage is more likely to introduce bugs; and thus, focus their attention on that code to avoid bugs, neglecting other factors during the software development process. However, there is no knowledge about the relevance of these assumptions for developers. Objective: This study investigates the developers’ viewpoints on the relevance of certain assumptions to avoid bug-introducing changes. In particular, we analyze which assumptions developers can make during software development; how relevant these assumptions are for developers; the common viewpoints among developers regarding these assumptions; and the main reasons for developers to put more/less relevance for some assumptions. Method: We applied the Q-methodology, a mixed-method from the psychometric spectrum, to investigate the relevance of assumptions and extract the developers’ viewpoints systematically. We involved 41 developers analyzing 41 assumptions extracted from literature and personal interviews. Results: We identified five viewpoints among developers regarding their assumptions around bug-introducing changes. Despite the differences among the viewpoints, there is also consensus, for example, regarding the importance of being aware of changes invoking high number of features. Moreover, developers rely on personal and technical reasons to put relevance on some assumptions. Conclusion: These findings are valuable knowledge for practitioners and researchers towards future research directions and development practices improvements.

Jairo Souza <> is in the Institute of Computing, Federal University of Alagoas (UFAL), Maceió, Brazil.

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