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Type: Conference paper
Title: (No) influence of continuous integration on the commit activity in GitHub projects
Author: Baltes, S.
Knack, J.
Anastasiou, D.
Tymann, R.
Diehl, S.
Citation: Proceedings of the 4th ACM SIGSOFT International Workshop on Software Analytics (SWAN 2018), 2018 / Baysal, O., Menzies, T. (ed./s), pp.1-7
Publisher: Association for Computing Machinery
Publisher Place: online
Issue Date: 2018
ISBN: 9781450360562
Conference Name: ACM SIGSOFT International Workshop on Software Analytics (5 Nov 2018 : Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA)
Editor: Baysal, O.
Menzies, T.
Statement of
Sebastian Baltes, Jascha Knack, Daniel Anastasiou, Ralf Tymann, Stephan Diehl
Abstract: A core goal of Continuous Integration (CI) is to make small incremental changes to software projects, which are integrated frequently into a mainline repository or branch. This paper presents an empirical study that investigates if developers adjust their commit activity towards the above-mentioned goal after projects start using CI. We analyzed the commit and merge activity in 93 GitHub projects that introduced the hosted CI system Travis CI, but have previously been developed for at least one year before introducing CI. In our analysis, we only found one non-negligible effect, an increased merge ratio, meaning that there were more merging commits in relation to all commits after the projects started using Travis CI. This effect has also been reported in related work. However, we observed the same effect in a random sample of 60 GitHub projects not using CI. Thus, it is unlikely that the effect is caused by the introduction of CI alone. We conclude that: (1) in our sample of projects, the introduction of CI did not lead to major changes in developers' commit activity, and (2) it is important to compare the commit activity to a baseline before attributing an effect to a treatment that may not be the cause for the observed effect.
Keywords: Continuous integration; open source software; commit activity; mining software repositories
Rights: © 2018 Copyright held by the owner/author(s). Publication rights licensed to ACM.
DOI: 10.1145/3278142.3278143
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