Do Software Engineers Benefit From Source Code Navigation With Traceability? - An Experiment in Software Change Management
For decades now, mainstream development environments provide the same basic automations for navigating source code: mainly searching and the tree exploration of files and folders. This may imply that other automations have little additional value or too steep a learning curve for mainstream adoption. This paper investigates whether existing navigation automations enriched with traceability benefit basic maintenance tasks such as changing features and fixing bugs in code. To test this, the authors conducted a controlled experiment with 52 subjects performing real maintenance tasks on two third-party development projects: all with the same navigation tool but half of the tasks with and the other half without traceability navigation.