Integrated Code History Tracker for Open Source Systems

Author(s): Katsuro Inoue, Yusuke Sasaki, Pei Xia, and Yuki Manabe
Venue: International Conference on Software Engineering
Date: 2012

Type of Experiement: Case Study
Sample Size: 4
Class/Experience Level: Professional
Participant Selection: Source Code Files
Data Collection Method: Project Artifact(s)


With so much code being available in the world, it is very rare to develop original code. Most systems currently use open source software that has either done something close to what the system is trying to achieve or is a good starting block for the system. But often, we do not know where this code came from or how long it has been around. This paper talks about a prototype called "Ichi Tracker" that was developed by this authors to help solve this problem.

The Ichi Tracker has the ability to take some source code in and use parts of the code as a search query for Google to find where the code was used and how many times it has been used. The authors conducted many cases studies and were able to find the history of their source code files. The only down side to this being the execution time and sometimes the usability of the prototype they have developed. The prototype was able to show that they have found an algorithm that is able to correctly find the history of the code snippet they are looking at. Currently, their prototype only uses online files found through Google. The authors hope to extend the functionality of their prototype to be able to handle local repositories and Internet repositories. The ability to find the history of code has some serious potential in the field. With a more developed prototype we may see this program become an industry standard for any systems looking at open source code.