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Keeping the development environment up to date - A study of the situated practices of appropriating the eclipse IDE

: Draxler, S.; Stevens, G.; Boden, A.


IEEE transactions on software engineering 40 (2014), No.11, pp.1061-1074
ISSN: 0098-5589
Journal Article
Fraunhofer FIT ()

Software engineers and developers are surrounded by highly complex software systems. What does it take to cope with these? We introduce a field study that explores the maintenance of the Eclipse Integrated Development Environment by software developers as part of their daily work. The study focuses on appropriation of the Eclipse IDE. We present an empirical view on appropriation as a means to maintain the collective ability to work. We visited seven different organizations and observed and interviewed their members. Each organization was chosen to provide an overall picture of Eclipse use throughout the industry. The results decompose the appropriation of Eclipse by software developers in organizations into four categories: learning, tailoring and discovering, as well as the cross-cutting category: collaboration. The categories are grounded in situations that provoked a need to change as well as in policies adopted for coping with this need. By discussing these categories against the background of Eclipse and its ecosystem, we want to illustrate in what ways appropriation of component- or plugin-based software is nowadays a common and highly complex challenge for Eclipse users, and how the related appropriation practices can be supported by IT systems.