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Revision 92015-09-02 - PaolaAccioly

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Understanding Merge Conflicts Characteristics (Website under construction)

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Abstract

  Previous studies show that merge conflicts frequently occur in collaborative development environments, and often impairs developers' productivity, since merging contributions is a demanding and tedious task. However, the structure of the changes that lead to conflicts has not been studied yet. Understanding conflicts underlying structure and the involved syntactic language elements might shed light on how to better avoid and resolve conflicts. So, in this paper we derive a catalog of conflict patterns expressed in terms of code changes that lead to conflicts. To assess the occurrence of such patterns in open-source systems, we conducted an empirical study that reproduces 56819 merges from 128 GitHub projects. We focus on conflicts reported by a semistructured merge tool, avoiding a large number of spurious conflicts often reported by typical unstructured tools that are still used in practice. We found out that most merge conflicts happen because developers independently edit the same lines of the same methods. Furthermore, we noticed that copying and pasting pieces of code, or even entire files, across different repositories is a common practice. We also analyze how our results reveal the need for new research studies and potential improvements to tools that better support collaborative software development.
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  Guilherme Cavalcanti - gjcc at cin.ufpe.br
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Update Results Link

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Results -- Graphs and Tables

  Updated Results Here
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Data

All data we collected during our experiment is available in what follows.

Results collected

Tools

The tools used to run our experiment, including the mining and the execution step is available here.

 

The Conflict Pattern Catalog

Bellow you can see one example of an instance of each pattern.

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EditSameFd.png
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EditSameFd.png
 

Field declarations added with the same identifiers and different types of modifiers

Acronym: AddSameFd

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ExtendsLits.png
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ExtendsLits.png
 

Different edits to the same annotation method default value

Acronym: DefaultValueA

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Tools

The source code for our tools is available here.

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Sample systems

 
META FORM name="MyForm"
FORM FIELD 29 Jan. 29Jan. EMN/ARMINES, ULANC, UMA, FCT/UNL
 
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