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Resumption strategies for interrupted programming tasks

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2 Author(s)
Parnin, C. ; Coll. of Comput., Georgia Inst. of Technol., Atlanta, GA ; Rugaber, S.

Interruptions are a daily reality for professional programmers. Unfortunately, the strategies programmers use to recover lost knowledge and resume work have not yet been well studied. In this paper, we perform exploratory analysis on 10,000 recorded programming sessions of 85 programmers to understand the variety of strategies used by programmers for resuming programming tasks. In our study, we find that only 10% of the programming sessions have coding activity start in less than a minute, only 7% of the programming sessions involve no navigation to other locations prior to editing, and find evidence of programmers seeking other sources of task context during task resumption. Based on the analysis, we suggest how task resumption might be better supported in future development tools.

Published in:

Program Comprehension, 2009. ICPC '09. IEEE 17th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

17-19 May 2009