‘Requirements’ are misleading and undermine good web design

requirements software development
Bas van Essen

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‘Requirements’ mislead and undermine good design

In many software engineering projects the ‘requirements’ would not be simply flawed, but entirely fictitious.

It’s just one of the claims in the paper ‘The Dangerous Dogmas over Software Engineering’, written by two British scientists. Their first sentence is hard and fast: “To legitimize itself as a scientific discipline, the software engineering academic community must let go of its non-empirical dogmas.”

3/4 of Stack Overflow code snippets is incorrectly credited

At most 1.8% of all Github repositories containing code from Stack Overflow, applies code in a way compatible with Stack Overflow’s license ‘CC BY-SA 3.0’.

stack overflow github code snippets

One of the involved researchers, Sebastian Baltes, wrote a blog about it and concluded that (1) developers rather refer to the questions than to individual answers in source code comments; (2) at most one quarter of the copies of Stack Overflow snippets are attributed using a link to the post as required by the license; (3) most developers are not aware of the licensing of content from Stack Overflow and its implications; (4) about 10% of all projects on GitHub could be affected by licensing issues due to the usage of non-trivial code snippets from Stack Overflow.

Claim: Syntax highlighting doesn’t support developers enough

Results suggest the concept wastes a feedback channel from the IDE to the coder.

syntax highlighting

An even more worrisome conclusion: “The data provided no evidence that syntax highlighting improves novices’ ability to comprehend source code.”

Scientists say they created a superior bug prediction system

Three Chinese scientists emphasize that ‘widely used defect predictors such as code metrics and process metrics can not well describe how software modules change over the project evolution, which we believe is important for defect prediction.’

They got satisfying results after testing their new bug prediction approach. And now they would like to extend their approach to more projects. Anybody help them?

Do Programmers Work at Night or during the Weekend?

To find out, three Finnish and one Canadian researcher investigated more than 700,000 version control commits from 87 software projects.

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Also published on Medium.