The Evolution of ANT Build Systems

 Invited for journal extension 
Authors - Shane McIntosh, Bram Adams, Ahmed E. Hassan
Venue - Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories, pp. 42-51, 2010

Related Tags - MSR 2010 build systems software evolution

Abstract - Build systems are responsible for transforming static source code artifacts into executable software. While build systems play such a crucial role in software development and maintenance, they have been largely ignored by software evolution researchers. With a firm understanding of build system aging processes, project managers could allocate personnel and resources to build system maintenance tasks more effectively, reducing the build maintenance overhead on regular development activities. In this paper, we study the evolution of ANT build systems from two perspectives: (1) a static perspective, where we examine the build system specifications using software metrics adopted from the source code domain; and (2) a dynamic perspective where representative sample build runs are conducted and their output logs are analyzed. Case studies of four open source ANT build systems with a combined history of 152 releases show that not only do ANT build systems evolve, but also that they need to react in an agile manner to changes in the source code.

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  Author = {Shane McIntosh and Bram Adams and Ahmed E. Hassan},
  Title = {{The Evolution of ANT Build Systems}},
  Year = {2010},
  Booktitle = {Proc. of the Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR)},
  Pages = {42-51}