Understanding and Improving Continuous Integration

Author(s): Michael Hilton
Venue: Foundations of Software Engineering
Date: 2016

Type of Experiement: Survey/Multi-Case Study
Sample Size: 3880
Class/Experience Level: Professional
Participant Selection: Public GitHub projects
Data Collection Method: Survey, Code Metric, Project Artifact(s)


Continuous Integration is a heavily used tool in industry but there has been little research done on its quantitative benefits. This study was created to open the door to this information. This study focused on collecting data from thousands of GitHub projects. Of those projects some used continuous integration solutions and others did not. Data was collected to determine which group had more success. Success was determined by factors such as: release rate, rate of pull requests accepted, and developer confidence in not breaking the build. Through these attributes, continuous integration was found to outperform projects without it.