Curating GitHub for engineered software projects
- Subject Areas
- Data Mining and Machine Learning, Software Engineering
- mining software repositories, github, data curation, cutation tools
- © 2016 Munaiah et al.
- This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ Preprints) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
- Cite this article
- 2016. Curating GitHub for engineered software projects. PeerJ Preprints 4:e2617v1 https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.2617v1
Software forges like GitHub host millions of repositories. Software engineering researchers have been able to take advantage of such a large corpora of potential study subjects with the help of tools like GHTorrent and Boa. However, the simplicity in querying comes with a caveat: there are limited means of separating the signal (e.g. repositories containing engineered software projects) from the noise (e.g. repositories containing home work assignments). The proportion of noise in a random sample of repositories could skew the study and may lead to researchers reaching unrealistic, potentially inaccurate, conclusions. We argue that it is imperative to have the ability to sieve out the noise in such large repository forges. We propose a framework, and present a reference implementation of the framework as a tool called reaper, to enable researchers to select GitHub repositories that contain evidence of an engineered software project. We identify software engineering practices (called dimensions) and propose means for validating their existence in a GitHub repository. We used reaper to measure the dimensions of 1,994,977 GitHub repositories. We then used the data set train classifiers capable of predicting if a given GitHub repository contains an engineered software project. The performance of the classifiers was evaluated using a set of 200 repositories with known ground truth classification. We also compared the performance of the classifiers to other approaches to classification (e.g. number of GitHub Stargazers) and found our classifiers to outperform existing approaches. We found stargazers-based classifier to exhibit high precision (96%) but an inversely proportional recall (27%). On the other hand, our best classifier exhibited a high precision (82%) and a high recall (83%). The stargazer-based criteria offers precision but fails to recall a significant potion of the population.
This is a preprint submission to PeerJ Preprints