Supporting the learning process of open source novices : an evaluation of code and project history visualization tools Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/7p88cn00c

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  • Active participation and collaboration of community members are crucial to the continuation and expansion of open source software projects. Researchers have recognized the value of community in open source development and studied various aspects of it including structure of communities
  • Active participation and collaboration of community members are crucial to the continuation and expansion of open source software projects. Researchers have recognized the value of community in open source development and studied various aspects of it including structure of communities, motivations for participation, and collaboration among members. However, the majority of previous work is devoted to active contributors and little is known about newcomers to open source projects. In anattempt to bringing more attention to these potential contributors to open source andsupporting their joining process by enhancing their initial learning experience, we investigated the information needs of those who are considering joining an open source project as developers and use of software in fulfilling the needs and providing information that are important to perform software development maintenance tasks.Our controlled experiment has revealed that the tools and resources available from current open source projects are lacking in providing information that is embedded indevelopment artifacts such as discussion archives, trackers, and source code.Difficulty obtaining such information may have a negative impact on newcomers' motivation on learning and further their engagement in activities. Our investigation of information visualization in support of learning suggests that providing visualinformation to newcomers may alleviate the difficulties associated with managing alarge amount of information and enhance their learning experience.
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