A study of language usage evolution in open source software

TitleA study of language usage evolution in open source software
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsGall, H, Karus, S
Tertiary Authorsvan Deursen, A, Xie, T, Zimmermann, T
Secondary TitleProceedings of the 8th working conference on Mining software repositories - MSR '11
Date Published05/2011
PublisherACM Press
Place PublishedWaikiki, Honolulu, HI, USA
ISBN Number9781450305747

The use of programming languages such as Java and C in Open Source Software (OSS) has been well studied. However, many other popular languages such as XSL or XML have received minor attention. In this paper, we discuss some trends in OSS development that we observed when considering multiple programming language evolution of OSS. Based on the revision data of 22 OSS projects, we tracked the evolution of language usage and other artefacts such as documentation files, binaries and graphics files. In these systems several different languages and artefact types including C/C++, Java, XML, XSL, Makefile, Groovy, HTML, Shell scripts, CSS, Graphics files, JavaScript, JSP, Ruby, Phyton, XQuery, OpenDocument files, PHP, etc. have been used. We found that the amount of code written in different languages differs substantially. Some of our findings can be summarized as follows: (1) JavaScript and CSS files most often co-evolve with XSL; (2) Most Java developers but only every second C/C++ developer work with XML; (3) and more generally, we observed a significant increase of usage of XML and XSL during recent years and found that Java or C are hardly ever the only language used by a developer. In fact, a developer works with more than 5 different artefact types (or 4 different languages) in a project on average.

Full Text