Computing That Serves

Exploring the Information Needs of Software Developers


Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 11:00am


Jonathan Sillito

Associate Professor of Computer Science, University of Calgary


Chuck Knutson

Colloquium is in 1170 TMCB.


Software developers and development teams rely on a range of
tools and information sources to do their work. My research has focused
on understanding these information needs with the long term goal of
improving tool support for developers. To this end, my students and I
have conducted several studies to explore information needs in various
contexts. In this talk I will discuss the results of three of these
studies. First, a study of information needs in bug reports with a focus
on collaboration between developers and users in the context of issue
tracking systems (CSCW 2010). Second, a study about version control
systems and the information needs of software developers integrating
source code that was developed in separate branches (CSCW 2012). Third, a
recent study of how developers use online resources to learn about a
software platform in the context of mobile app development. In the talk
I'll also discuss the implications our study results have for software
development practices and tools, and the education of software



Jonathan Sillito is a recently tenured, Associate
Professor of Computer Science at the University of Calgary. He has a PhD
from the University of British Columbia and an MSc and BSc from the
University of Alberta. Jonathan's primary research contributions are in
the area of software engineering, with a particular focus on the human
and cooperative aspects of software engineering. These contributions
stem from empirical studies of program comprehension, source code
search, the social aspects of issue tracking, source control branch
management, and modularity. The results of these studies have been
published in top venues, including FSE, TSE, CSCW and ICSE.
In addition to serving on various program
committees, Jonathan has served as a guest co-editor for a special issue
of the International Journal on Empirical Software Engineering (the
special issue is focused on qualitative research in software
engineering) and he has helped organize the 2009 Interactive Tabletops
and Surfaces conference and the 2011 Empirical Software Engineering and
Measurement conference.