Information Foraging as a Foundation for Code Navigation

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Executive Summary

A major software engineering challenge is to understand the fundamental mechanisms that underlie the developer's code navigation behavior. The authors propose a novel and unified theory based on the premise that they can study developer's information seeking strategies in light of the foraging principles that evolved to help their animal ancestors to find food. Their preliminary study on code navigation graphs suggests that the tenets of information foraging provide valuable insight into software maintenance. Their research opens the avenue towards the development of ecologically valid tool support to augment developers' code search skills.

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