How do developers discuss and support new programming languages in technical Q A site? An empirical study of Go, Swift, and Rust in Stack Overflow

by   Partha Chakraborty, et al.

New programming languages (e.g., Swift, Go, Rust, etc.) are being introduced to provide a better opportunity for the developers to make software development robust and easy. At the early stage, a programming language is likely to have resource constraints that encourage the developers to seek help frequently from experienced peers active in QA sites such as Stack Overflow (SO). In this study, we have formally studied the discussions on three popular new languages introduced after the inception of SO (2008) and match those with the relevant activities in GitHub whenever appropriate. For that purpose, we have mined 4,17,82,536 questions and answers from SO and 7,846 issue information along with 6,60,965 repository information from GitHub. Initially, the development of new languages is relatively slow compared to mature languages (e.g., C, C++, Java). The expected outcome of this study is to reveal the difficulties and challenges faced by the developers working with these languages so that appropriate measures can be taken to expedite the generation of relevant resources. We have used the LDA method on SO's questions and answers to identify different topics of new languages. We have extracted several features of the answer pattern of the new languages from SO to study their characteristics. These attributes were used to identify difficult topics. We explored the background of developers who are contributing to these languages. We have created a model by combining Stack Overflow data and issues, repository, user data of GitHub. Finally, we have used that model to identify factors that affect language evolution. We believe that the outcome of our study is likely to help the owner/sponsor of these languages to design better features and documentation. It will also help the software developers or students to prepare themselves to work on these languages in an informed way.


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