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Originally posted on The CHISEL Group, University of Victoria, BC:

Our paper on the the emergence of GitHub as a collaborative platform for education has been accepted to CSCW 2015!

Preprint here!

Authors: Alexey Zagalsky, Joseph Feliciano, Margaret-Anne Storey, Yiyun Zhao, Weiliang Wang

Abstract: The software development community has embraced GitHub as an essential platform for managing their software projects. GitHub has created efficiencies and helped improve the way software professionals work. It not only provides a traceable project repository, but it acts as a social meeting place for interested parties, supporting communities of practice. Recently, educators have seen the potential in GitHub’s collaborative features for managing and improving—perhaps even transforming—the learning experience.

In this study, we examine how GitHub is emerging as a collaborative platform for education. We aim to understand how environments such as GitHub—environments that provide social and collaborative features in conjunction with distributed version control—may improve (or possibly hinder) the educational experience for students and teachers. We…

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I gave an invited talk at the Vissoft Conference in beautiful Victoria, B.C. (collocated with ICSME2014) on Sept 29th.

Slides are posted here:  http://www.slideshare.net/mastorey/visualization-for-software-analytics

Abstract

The popularity of software visualization research over the past 30 years has led to innovative techniques that are now seeing widespread adoption by professional software practitioners. But this research has barely kept pace with some of the radical changes occurring in software engineering today. In this talk, I explore current trends in software engineering, including the prevalence of software ecosystems and software delivery as a service, and the emergence of the social coder within a participatory development culture. I will also discuss how the field of software analytics has matured and seeks to support practitioners in improving software quality, user experience and developer productivity through data-driven tasks. Finally, I suggest that software visualization should be playing a bigger role in these recent trends, emphasizing that interactive visualizations are poised to play a critical role in the field of software analytics.

The 22nd ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE 2014) will be held in Hong Kong, China between November 16 and November 22, 2014. Hong Kong is a lively place with a beautiful harbor and landscape. It is a city internationally known for its finance, shopping, and food with a good mix of Eastern and Western cultures. FSE is an internationally renowned forum for researchers, practitioners, and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, experiences, and challenges in software engineering.

Papers are due March 16th!   We look forward to your submissions!   Learn more...

We recently conducted a survey with over 1,400 developers to find out how they use Twitter or why they reject it.   The questions we asked were based on an earlier survey with 271 developers and 27 interviews.   We discovered why some love it, why some do not, and also found out what kinds of strategies developers use to improve Twitter use.  Here is a brief snapshot of the results.

Why some developers love Twitter

677 DEVELOPERS SAID IT HELPS THEM LEARN ABOUT TECHNOLOGIES THEY DIDN’T PREVIOUSLY KNOW ABOUT

673 DEVELOPERS SAID IT HELPS THEM STAY CURRENT WITH THE TECHNOLOGIES AND PRACTICES THEY NEED TO USE

627 SAID IT HELPED THEM CONNECT WITH INTERESTING DEVELOPERS

541 SAID IT HELPS THEM PROMOTE PROJECTS AND TECHNOLOGIES

452 USED TWITTER TO BUILD TRUST AND RAPPORT WITH OTHER DEVELOPERS

401 USED TWITTER TO GAIN USEFUL FEEDBACK ON THEIR WORK

381 SAID IT HELPED IN COMMUNITY BUILDING

and…

291 SAID TWITTER HELPED THEM TO BECOME BETTER PROGRAMMERS

260 SAID IT HELPED WITH JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Why some developers resist Twitter

356 DEVELOPERS FOUND IT TO BE OVERWHELMING

110 DEVELOPERS DO NOT APPRECIATE THE 140 CHARACTER LIMIT

What strategies should developers on Twitter use

BUILD A RELEVANT NETWORK ORGANICALLY BY…

DECIDING CAREFULLY WHO TO FOLLOW

FOLLOW AND RETWEET THOUGHT LEADERS

FOLLOW ON A TRIAL BASIS AND REEVALUATE FREQUENTLY

SHARE WHAT YOU LEARN ABOUT TECHNOLOGY AND RELATED PRACTICES

SWITCH TO OTHER CHANNELS FOR LONGER DISCUSSIONS

But what do you think?  Do YOU think developers should use Twitter?  Do you love or hate Twitter? Comment below!

Want to read more?  See a longer blog post here  and an even longer paper here, or participate in our latest survey about social media in software development.

Originally posted on The CHISEL Group, University of Victoria, BC:

Our research team from the University of Victoria in Canada is interested in which tools and media software developers use to support their software development activities.  So, we are seeking a broad sample of software developers with diverse backgrounds and varied development needs to answer a survey!   The results will be openly published so everyone can benefit from them, but we will anonymize everything before doing so.

Here’s a link to the survey: http://leif.me/devsurvey/?source=chp

The survey should take about 10 minutes. If you are a software developer or a developer in training, we would greatly appreciate your input — it could help us understand how modern developers work and in turn might help us shape new tools that support developers. We will handle your response confidentially. This is a purely academic study.

Thanks a lot in advance!  We’d appreciate any help with distributing our survey — if you feel like

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The following show the slides and abstract for a keynote presented at SLE (Software Language Engineering) 2012 in Dresden, Germany on September 28th, 2012. 

KEYNOTE TITLE: Addressing Cognitive and Social Challenges in Designing and Using Ontologies in the Biomedical Domain

ABSTRACT: Ontologies can provide a conceptualization of a domain leading to a common vocabulary for communities of researchers and important standards to facilitate computation, software interoperability and data reuse. Most successful ontologies, especially those that have been developed by diverse communities over long periods of time, are typically large and complex. To address this complexity, ontology authoring and browsing tools must provide cognitive support to improve comprehension of the many concepts and relationships in ontologies. Also, ontology tools must support collaboration as the heart of ontology design and use is centered on community consensus.

In this talk, I will describe how standardized ontologies are developed and used in the biomedical and clinical domains to aid in scientific and medical discoveries. Specifically, I will present how the US National Center for Biomedical Ontology has designed the BioPortal ontology library (and associated technologies) to promote the use of standardized ontologies and tools. I will review how BioPortal and other ontology tools use established and novel visualization and collaboration approaches to improve ontology authoring and data curation activities. I will also discuss an ambitious project by the World Health Organization that leverages the use of social media to broaden participation in the development of the next version of the International Classification of Diseases. To conclude, I will discuss the challenges and opportunities that arise from using ontologies to bridge communities that manage and curate important information resources.

The following show the slides and abstract for a keynote presented at MSR 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland on June 3rd, 2012. Also available are an audio and slide capture on https://vimeo.com/43620623 and an unedited audio track))

Abstract

Social media has revolutionized how humans create and curate knowledge artifacts. It has increased individual engagement, broadened community participation and led to the formation of new social networks. This paradigm shift is particularly evident in software engineering in three distinct ways: firstly, in how software stakeholders co-develop and form communities of practice; secondly, in the complex and distributed software ecosystems that are enabled through insourcing, outsourcing, open sourcing and crowdsourcing of components and related artifacts; and thirdly, by the emergence of socially-enabled software repositories and collaborative development environments.

In this talk, I will discuss how software engineers are becoming more “social” and altruistic, defying the old-fashioned stereotype of the solitary and selfish programmer. I conjecture that media literacy and networking skills will become just as important as technical skills for creating, curating and managing today’s complex software ecosystems and software knowledge. I will also discuss the influence of social media and social networks on software development environments and repositories. I propose that social media is responsible for the shift from a software repository as a “space” that stores software artifacts, to a “place” where developers learn, reuse, share and network.

The convergence of software tools with social media naturally influences the information that can be mined from software repositories, challenging not only the questions that motivate these mining activities, but also the very definitions of what comprises a software repository or even a software programmer. Finally, I will suggest that it is imperative to consider both the positive and negative consequences of how programming in a socially-networked world might impact software quality and software engineering practices. As Marshall McLuhan eloquently said in 1974, “If we understand the revolutionary transformations caused by new media, we can anticipate and control them; but if we continue in our self-induced subliminal trance, we will be their slaves.”

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