Technical dependencies to characterise software ecosystems

Project Details

  • Project Overview
    This project investigates automated ways to identify technical dependencies between projects in software ecosystems. Our long term goal is to study the properties and evolution of such ecosystems.
  • SEGAL Members Involved
    Kelly Blincoe, Francis Harrison, and Daniela Damian.

Project Description

We developed a new method, known as reference coupling, for detecting technical dependencies between projects. The method establishes dependencies through user-specified cross-references between projects. We used our method to identify ecosystems in GitHub-hosted projects, and identified several characteristics of the identified ecosystems. We find that most ecosystems are centered around one project and are interconnected with other ecosystems. The predominant type of ecosystems are those that develop tools to support software development. Studying the properties of the ecosystems we identified, we also found that the project owners’ social behaviour aligns well with the technical dependencies within the ecosystem, but project contributors’ social behaviour does not align with these dependencies.

Kelly Blincoe, Francis Harrison, and Daniela Damian. Ecosystems in GitHub and a Method for Ecosystem Identification using Reference Coupling. In Proceedings of the 12th Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR ’15), Florence, Italy, 2015. (preprint)


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