Feeds

Boffins untangle why your software builds fail

Dependency hell by-the-numbers

Top three mobile application threats

Dependency errors aren't just the bane of Linux users living the configure-make-install life: they also have a significant impact on developer productivity that could be dealt with in the tools developers use.

That's one of the conclusions arising out of a new analysis, carried out by researchers from Hong Kong, the University of Nebraska, and Google (which contributed nine months' of build data from thousands of developers to the study).

With 26 million builds as a dataset, Google is in a better position than most to help work out what lies beneath a failed job, and in this analysis, lead author Hyunmin Seo of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and his co-authors conclude that the same dependency hell that any Linux user will know well drives build fails all over the world.

The paper states that in Java builds, dependency errors accounted for about 65 per cent of build failures, and a little over half of C++ builds; type mismatches (“a variable is assigned to an incompatible type or when a function is called with wrong argument types”) caused more than 25 per cent of failed C++ builds and nearly 20 per cent of failed Java builds; with syntax, semantic, and other errors making up the rest of the failed builds.

Most of the time – Vulture South would guess this party depends on a developer's experience – build errors can be resolved fairly quickly, with the paper finding that the median resolution times were 5 minutes (C++) and 12 minutes (Java). However, the resolution time “can vary by an order of magnitude across error kinds”, which has important implications for developer productivity.

Discussing the impact of the kind of error on the fix-time, the authors note: “some compiler errors show a higher median resolution time as they are more difficult to puzzle out (non_virtual_dtor, ovl_no_viable_function_in_init, typecheck_nonviable_condition, or typename_nested_not_found), or else may take time to track down the missing dependency (pp_file_not_found).”

Fixing errors – and improving developer productivity – isn't too steep a demand, the paper finds, since no matter the language, around 10 per cent of error types accounted for 90 per cent of build fails. Hence, “better tools to resolve de-pendency errors have the greatest potential payoff”, the paper states, noting that Google is already briefing its infrastructure organisation on the subject. ®

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.