Questions programmers ask during software evolution tasks
Though many tools are available to help programmers working on change tasks, and several studies have been conducted to understand how programmers comprehend systems, little is known about the specific kinds of questions programmers ask when evolving a code base. To fill this gap we conducted two qualitative studies of programmers performing change tasks to medium to large sized programs. One study involved newcomers working on assigned change tasks to a medium-sized code base. The other study involved industrial programmers working on their own change tasks on code with which they had experience. The focus of our analysis has been on what information a programmer needs to know about a code base while performing a change task and also on howthey go about discovering that information. Based on this analysis we catalog and categorize 44 different kinds of questions asked by our participants. We also describe important context for how those questions were answered by our participants, including their use of tools.