An exploratory study of backtracking strategies used by developers

Young Seok Yoon, Brad A. Myers
2012 2012 5th International Workshop on Co-operative and Human Aspects of Software Engineering (CHASE)  
Developers frequently backtrack while coding. They go back to an earlier state by removing inserted code or by restoring removed code for various reasons. However, little is known about when and how the developers backtrack, and modern IDEs do not provide much assistance for backtracking. As a first step towards gathering baseline knowledge about backtracking and designing more robust backtracking assistance tools in modern IDEs, we conducted an exploratory study with 12 professional developers
more » ... and a follow-up online survey. Our study revealed several barriers they faced while backtracking. Subjects often manually commented and uncommented code, and often had difficulty finding relevant parts to backtrack. Backtracking was reported to be needed by 3/4 of the developers at least "sometimes".
doi:10.1109/chase.2012.6223012 dblp:conf/icse/YoonM12 fatcat:5mnjnaovkjcwblstbbrj55zoci