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Study Finds Auto-Fix Tool Gets More Programmers to ­pgrade Code

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Programmers often put off up the upgrading of out-of-date dependencies.

A recent study by researchers at North Carolina State University finds that auto-fix tools are effective ways to get programmers to make the relevant upgrades.

Credit: Tim Regan

Researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) have found that auto-fix tools are effective ways to get programmers to make relevant upgrades.

Most programmers rely on code in external libraries to perform some of their functions, and these libraries are periodically updated to address flaws, but many coders put off these updates.

"Our goal with this project was to assess tools designed to get more programmers to upgrade their out-of-date dependencies," says NCSU professor Chris Parnin.

The researchers examined thousands of open source projects on GitHub, focusing on what methods were used to incentivize or facilitate upgrades and whether those incentives made any difference. The researchers found projects with automated pull requests made 60 percent more of the necessary upgrades than projects that did not use incentives.

The team will present its research at the IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE 2017), which takes place Oct. 30-Nov.3 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL.

From NC State News
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