Peer interaction effectively, yet infrequently, enables programmers to discover new tools

Emerson Murphy-Hill, Gail C. Murphy
2011 Proceedings of the ACM 2011 conference on Computer supported cooperative work - CSCW '11  
Computer users rely on software tools to work effectively and efficiently, but it is difficult for users to be aware of all the tools that might be useful to them. While there are several potential technical solutions to this difficulty, we know little about social solutions, such as one user telling a peer about a tool. To explore these social solutions in one particular domain, we describe a series of interviews with 18 programmers in industry that explore how tool discovery takes place.
more » ... interviews provide a rich set of qualitative data that give us detailed insights into how programmers discover tools. One finding was that, while programmers believe that discovery from peers is effective, they actually discover tools from peers relatively infrequently. Another finding was that programmers can effectively discover tools from their peers both in a co-located and remote settings. We describe several implications of our findings, such as that discovery from peers can be enhanced by improving programmers' ability to communicate openly and concisely about tools.
doi:10.1145/1958824.1958888 dblp:conf/cscw/Murphy-HillM11 fatcat:rv2zgfl77rhdfimuskjajrpnwi