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Enabling the Study of Software Development Behavior with Cross-Tool Logs

Ben Holtz
Edward K. Smith
Andrea Marie Knight Dolan
Elizabeth Kammer
Jillian Dicker
Lan Cheng
Emerson Murphy-Hill
IEEE Software, vol. Special Issue on Behavioral Science of Software Engineering (2020)

Abstract

Understanding developers’ day-to-day behavior can help answer important research questions, but capturing that behavior at scale can be challenging, particularly when developers use many tools in concert to accomplish their tasks. In this paper, we describe our experience creating a system that integrates log data from dozens of development tools at Google, including tools that developers use to email, schedule meetings, ask and answer technical questions, find code, build and test, and review code. The contribution of this article is a technical description of the system, a validation of it, and a demonstration of its usefulness.

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