Assessing the Value of Branches with What-if Analysis

Branches within source code management systems (SCMs) allow a software project to divide work among its teams for concurrent development by isolating changes. However, this benefit comes with several costs: increased time required for changes to move through the system and pain and error potential when integrating changes across branches. In this paper, we present the results of a survey to characterize how developers use branches in a large industrial project and common problems that they face. One of the major problems mentioned was the long delay that it takes changes to move from one team to another, which is often caused by having too many branches (branchmania). To monitor branch health, we introduce a novel what-if analysis to assess alternative branch structures with respect to isolation and liveness. We demonstrate with several scenarios how our what-if analysis can support branch decisions. By removing high-cost-low-value branches in Windows based on our what-if analysis, changes would each have saved 8.9 days of delay and only introduced 0.04 additional conflicts on average.

bird-fse-2012.pdf
PDF file

In  Proceedings of the 20th International Symposium on Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE 2012)

Publisher  Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.
Copyright © 2012 by the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than ACM must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Request permissions from Publications Dept, ACM Inc., fax +1 (212) 869-0481, or permissions@acm.org. The definitive version of this paper can be found at ACM’s Digital Library --http://www.acm.org/dl/.

Details

TypeInproceedings
> Publications > Assessing the Value of Branches with What-if Analysis