The evolution of ANT build systems

TitleThe evolution of ANT build systems
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsMcIntosh, S, Adams, B, Hassan, AE
Secondary Title2010 7th IEEE Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR 2010)2010 7th IEEE Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR 2010)
Pagination42 - 51
Place PublishedCape Town, South Africa
ISBN Number978-1-4244-6802-7
Keywordsant, argouml, build, eclipse, jboss, maintenance, metrics, source code, tomcat

Build systems are responsible for transforming static source code artifacts into executable software. While build systems play such a crucial role in software development and maintenance, they have been largely ignored by software evolution researchers. With a firm understanding of build system aging processes, project managers could allocate personnel and resources to build system maintenance tasks more effectively, reducing the build maintenance overhead on regular development activities. In this paper, we study the evolution of ANT build systems from two perspectives: (1) a static perspective, where we examine the build system specifications using software metrics adopted from the source code domain; and (2) a dynamic perspective where representative sample build runs are conducted and their output logs are analyzed. Case studies of four open source ANT build systems with a combined history of 152 releases show that not only do ANT build systems evolve, but also that they need to react in an agile manner to changes in the source code.

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