Promoteur: Monsieur Tom Mens Co-promoteur: Mme Laurence Duchien (Université de Lille)
Résumé de la dissertation:
The advent of delivering new features faster has led many software projects to change their development processes towards more rapid release models where releases are shipped using release cycles of weeks or days. The adoption of rapid release practices has significantly reduced the amount of stabilization time, the time it takes for a software product’s failure rate to reach close to the steady-state, available for new features. This forces organizations to change their development process and tools to release to the public, in a timely manner and with good quality. Rapid releases are claimed to offer a reduced time-to-market and faster user feedback; end-users benefit of faster access to functionality improvements and security updates and improve turnaround time for fixing bad bugs. Despite these benefits, previous research has shown that rapid releases often come at the expense of reduced software reliability. Despite the increasing adoption of rapid releases in open-source and commercial software, the effects of this practice on the software development process are not well understood. The goal of this thesis is to provide a deeper understanding of how rapid releases impact different parts of the open-source software development process. We present empirical evidence about the short and long-term impact of rapid releases on the bug handling and testing process in open source organizations; and the plan and tools that are needed for successful adoption of rapid releases. This thesis presents an empirical case study of rapid releases in Eclipse and Mozilla Firefox projects. We follow a mixed-methods approach where we analyze software repositories, containing different types of data such as source code, testing data and software issues; and we support our findings by conducting a survey with Eclipse developers. This helps in understanding the evolution and changes of the software development process, the plans and practices that are needed for successful adoption of rapid releases, and the identification of research directions calling for further investigation.