FSE 2016 All Events

24th ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE 2016), November 13–18, 2016, Seattle, WA, USA

Desktop Layout

Session 2: HCI and Process
Research Papers
Emerald 2, Chair: Peri Tarr
How to Break an API: Cost Negotiation and Community Values in Three Software Ecosystems
Christopher Bogart, Christian Kästner, James Herbsleb, and Ferdian Thung
(Carnegie Mellon University, USA; Singapore Management University, Singapore)
Publisher's Version
Supplementary Material
Abstract: Change introduces conflict into software ecosystems: breaking changes may ripple through the ecosystem and trigger rework for users of a package, but often developers can invest additional effort or accept opportunity costs to alleviate or delay downstream costs. We performed a multiple case study of three software ecosystems with different tooling and philosophies toward change, Eclipse, R/CRAN, and Node.js/npm, to understand how developers make decisions about change and change-related costs and what practices, tooling, and policies are used. We found that all three ecosystems differ substantially in their practices and expectations toward change and that those differences can be explained largely by different community values in each ecosystem. Our results illustrate that there is a large design space in how to build an ecosystem, its policies and its supporting infrastructure; and there is value in making community values and accepted tradeoffs explicit and transparent in order to resolve conflicts and negotiate change-related costs.


Time stamp: 2019-05-21T15:13:14+02:00