Abstract

Software engineers working in large teams on large, long-lived code-bases have trouble understanding why the source code looks the way it does. Often, they answer their questions by looking at past revisions of the source code, bug reports, code checkins, mailing list messages, and other documentation. This process of inquiry can be quite inefficient, especially when the answers they seek are located in isolated repositories accessed by multiple independent investigation tools. Prior mining approaches have focused on linking various data repositories together; in this paper we investigate techniques for displaying information extracted from the repositories in a way that helps developers to build a cohesive mental model of the rationale behind the code. After interviewing several developers and testers about how they investigate source code, we created a Visual Studio plugin called Deep Intellisense that summarizes and displays historical information about source code. We designed Deep Intellisense to address many of the hurdles engineers face with their current techniques, and help them spend less time gathering information and more time getting their work done.