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On potential improvements in the analysis of the evolution of themes in code review comments
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3177-6138
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0639-4234
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7266-5632
2023 (English)In: Proceedings - 2023 49th Euromicro Conference on Software Engineering and Advanced Applications, SEAA 2023, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 2023, p. 340-347Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Context: The modern code review process is considered an essential quality assurance step in software development. The code review comments generated can provide insights regarding source code quality and development practices. However, the large number of code review comments makes it challenging to identify interesting patterns manually. In a recent study, Wen et al. used traditional topic modeling to analyze the evolution of code review comments. Their approach could identify interesting patterns that may lead to improved development practices.Objective: In this study, we investigate potential improvements to Wen et al.'s state-of-the-art approach to analyze the evolution of code review comments.Method: We used 209,166 code review comments from three open-source systems to explore and empirically analyze alternative design and implementation choices and demonstrate their impact.Results: We identified the following potential improvements to the current state-of-the-art as described by Wen et al.: 1) utilize a topic modeling method that is optimized for short texts, 2) a refined approach for identifying a suitable number of topics, and 3) a more elaborate approach for analyzing topic evolution. Our results indicate that the proposed changes have quantitatively different results than the current approach. The qualitative interpretation of the topics generated with our changes indicates their usefulness.Conclusions: Our results indicate the potential usefulness of changes to state-of-the-art approaches to analyzing the evolution of code review comments, with practical implications for researchers and practitioners. However, further research is required to compare the effectiveness of both approaches. © 2023 IEEE.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 2023. p. 340-347
Keywords [en]
Modern Code Reviews, Source code quality, NLP
National Category
Computer Systems
Research subject
Software Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-25598DOI: 10.1109/SEAA60479.2023.00059Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85183313412ISBN: 9798350342352 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-25598DiVA, id: diva2:1811306
Conference
49th Euromicro Conference on Software Engineering and Advanced Applications, SEAA 2023, Durres, Sept. 6th – Sept. 8th, 2023
Projects
ELLIIT, the Strategic Research Area within IT and Mobile Communications,
Funder
ELLIIT - The Linköping‐Lund Initiative on IT and Mobile CommunicationsAvailable from: 2023-11-12 Created: 2023-11-12 Last updated: 2024-03-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Towards Measuring & Improving Source Code Quality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards Measuring & Improving Source Code Quality
2024 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Context: Software quality has a multi-faceted description encompassing several quality attributes. Central to our efforts to enhance software quality is to improve the quality of the source code. Poor source code quality impacts the quality of the delivered product. Empirical studies have investigated how to improve source code quality and how to quantify the source code improvement. However, the reported evidence linking internal code structure information and quality attributes observed by users is varied and, at times, conflicting. Furthermore, there is a further need for research to improve source code quality by understanding trends in feedback from code review comments.

Objective: This thesis contributes towards improving source code quality and synthesizes metrics to measure improvement in source code quality. Hence, our objectives are 1) To synthesize evidence of links between source code metrics and external quality attributes, & identify source code metrics, and 2) To identify areas to improve source code quality by identifying recurring code quality issues using the analysis of code review comments.

Method: We conducted a tertiary study to achieve the first objective, an archival analysis and a case study to investigate the latter two objectives.

Results: To quantify source code quality improvement, we reported a comprehensive catalog of source code metrics and a small set of source code metrics consistently linked with maintainability, reliability, and security. To improve source code quality using analysis of code review comments, our explored methodology improves the state-of-the-art with interesting results.

Conclusions: The thesis provides a promising way to analyze themes in code review comments. Researchers can use the source code metrics provided to estimate these quality attributes reliably. In future work, we aim to derive a software improvement checklist based on the analysis of trends in code review comments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2024. p. 169
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Licentiate Dissertation Series, ISSN 1650-2140 ; 2024:02
Keywords
Source code quality, Code review analysis, Software quality improvement
National Category
Computer Systems
Research subject
Software Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-25608 (URN)978-91-7295-474-8 (ISBN)
Presentation
2024-04-12, J1630, Karlskrona, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
ELLIIT - The Linköping‐Lund Initiative on IT and Mobile Communications
Available from: 2024-03-13 Created: 2024-03-13 Last updated: 2024-03-21Bibliographically approved

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Iftikhar, UmarBörstler, JürgenAli, Nauman bin

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