PPIG 2005 - 17th Annual Workshop
The Role of Source Code within Program Summaries describing Maintenance Activities
Pamela O’Shea, Chris Exton
Abstract: This paper investigates the use and type of source code employed during program summaries which describe software maintenance tasks. The data consists of eighty-eight program summaries extracted from online developer mailing lists. The summaries were categorised into three themes, description of problems, modifications and modification requests. Each theme was subdivided into five task types, adaptive, corrective, emergency, perfective and preventive. A subset of three categories from a content analysis schema have been isolated for this investigation, the three source code categories cover descriptions of single lines of code, code excerpts and blocks of code. The use of these three categories were examined between the theme groupings as well as within the themes, that is, differences between the task types. The results were not as frequent as expected. However a significant difference was found between the adaptive and perfective modification request summaries.