Comprehension Effort and Programming Activities: Related? Or Not Related?
Researchers have observed programmers to allocate considerable amount of effort in program comprehension. But, how does program comprehension effort relate with programming activities? We answer this question by conducting an empirical study using the MSR 2018 Mining Challenge Dataset. We quantify programmers’ comprehension effort, and investigate the relationship between program comprehension effort and four programming activities: navigating, editing, building projects, and debugging. We observe when programmers are involved in high comprehension effort they navigate and make edits at a significantly slower rate. However, we do not observe any significant differences in programmers’ build and debugging behavior, when programmers are involved in high comprehension effort. Our findings suggest that the relationship between program comprehension effort and programming activities is nuanced, as not all programming activities associate with program comprehension effort.
Akond Rahman is a fourth year PhD student at North Carolina State University. His research interests include Continuous Deployment, Infrastructure as Code, and Mining Software Repositories. He is the winner of the ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Doctoral Symposium Award at the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) 2018. He graduated with a M.Sc. in Computer Science and Engineering from University of Connecticut and a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.