Behind developer contributions on conflicting merge scenarios

Gustavo Vale*, Eduardo Fernandes, Eduardo Figueiredo, Sven Apel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Context: The success of Open Source Software (OSS) projects typically depends on simultaneous contributions of several developers. These contributions often affect the same changing source files and may lead to merge conflicts when integrated. Previous studies investigated the reduction of conflicting merge scenarios. However, empirical evidence on the involvement of OSS contributors in conflicting merge scenarios is scarce. Objective: We aim to fill this gap with a large-scale quantitative study with the goal of understanding: 1) the extent in which OSS contributors are involved in conflicting merge scenarios; 2) characteristics of these contributors; and 3) characteristics of changing source files. Method: We collect both contributor data and contribution data from 66 popular GitHub projects and analyze data of 2 972 distinct contributors who were involved in at least one conflicting merge scenario. We rely on both descriptive and inferential statistics to address our research questions. Results: About 80% of the analyzed contributors are involved in only one or two conflicting merge scenarios. Additionally, 42 out of the 66 projects had its top-one contributor as the one mostly involved in conflicting merge scenarios. Finally, only a small set of changing source files are involved in conflicting merge scenarios. Conclusions: We advocate that training the typically small group of contributors involved in conflicting merge scenarios could significantly reduce the number of merge conflicts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2023 IEEE 23rd International Working Conference on Source Code Analysis and Manipulation (SCAM )
EditorsLeon Moonen, Christian Newman, Alessandra Gorla
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherIEEE Computer Society Press
Publication dateOct 2023
Pages25-36
ISBN (Electronic)979-8-3503-0506-7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023
EventIEEE International Working Conference on Source Code Analysis and Manipulation - Bogota, Colombia
Duration: 2. Oct 20233. Oct 2023
Conference number: 23
https://www.ieee-scam.org/2023/#home

Conference

ConferenceIEEE International Working Conference on Source Code Analysis and Manipulation
Number23
Country/TerritoryColombia
CityBogota
Period02/10/202303/10/2023
Internet address
SeriesIEEE International Working Conference on Source Code Analysis and Manipulation (SCAM)
ISSN2470-6892

Keywords

  • merge conflict
  • mining software repositories
  • open source software
  • project contributor
  • quantitative analysis

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Behind developer contributions on conflicting merge scenarios'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this