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Leveraging Crowd Knowledge for Software Comprehension and Development

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3 Author(s)
Ponzanelli, L. ; REVEAL @ Fac. of Inf., Univ. of Lugano, Lugano, Switzerland ; Bacchelli, A. ; Lanza, M.

Question and Answer (Q&A) services, such as Stack Overflow, rely on a community of programmers who post questions, provide and rate answers, to create what is termed "crowd knowledge". As a consequence, these services archive voluminous and potentially useful information to help developers to solve programming-specific issues. Programmers tap into this crowd knowledge through web browsers. This requires them to step out of their integrated development environments (IDE), formulate a query, inspect the returned results and manually port the solution back to the IDE. We present an integrated and largely automated approach to assist programmers who want to leverage the crowd knowledge of Q&A services. We give a form to our approach by implementing Seahawk, an Eclipse plugin. Seahawk automatically formulates queries from the current context in the IDE, and presents a ranked and interactive list of results. Seahawk lets users identify individual discussion pieces and import code samples through simple drag & drop. Users can also link Stack Overflow discussions and source code persistently. We performed an evaluation of Seahawk, with promising results.

Published in:

Software Maintenance and Reengineering (CSMR), 2013 17th European Conference on

Date of Conference:

5-8 March 2013

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