Sustaining large open source development efforts requires recruiting new participants; however, a lack of architectural documentation might inhibit new participants since large amounts of project knowledge are unavailable to newcomers. We present the results of a multitrait, multimethod analysis of the effects of introducing architectural documentation into a substantial open source project—the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS). HDFS had only minimal architectural documentation, and we wanted to discover whether the putative benefits of architectural documentation could be observed over time. To do this, we created and publicized an architecture document and then monitored its usage and effects on the project. The results were somewhat ambiguous: by some measures the architecture documentation appeared to effect the project but not by others. Perhaps of equal importance is our discovery that the project maintained, in its web-accessible JIRA archive of software issues and fixes, enough architectural discussion to support architectural thinking and reasoning. This “emergent” architecture documentation served an important purpose in recording core project members’ architectural concerns and resolutions. However, this emergent architecture documentation did not serve all project members equally well; it appears that those on the periphery of the project—newcomers and adopters—still require explicit architecture documentation, as we will show.

Evaluating the Effects of Architectural Documentation: A Case Study of a Large Scale Open Source Project

Valetto, Giuseppe
2015

Abstract

Sustaining large open source development efforts requires recruiting new participants; however, a lack of architectural documentation might inhibit new participants since large amounts of project knowledge are unavailable to newcomers. We present the results of a multitrait, multimethod analysis of the effects of introducing architectural documentation into a substantial open source project—the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS). HDFS had only minimal architectural documentation, and we wanted to discover whether the putative benefits of architectural documentation could be observed over time. To do this, we created and publicized an architecture document and then monitored its usage and effects on the project. The results were somewhat ambiguous: by some measures the architecture documentation appeared to effect the project but not by others. Perhaps of equal importance is our discovery that the project maintained, in its web-accessible JIRA archive of software issues and fixes, enough architectural discussion to support architectural thinking and reasoning. This “emergent” architecture documentation served an important purpose in recording core project members’ architectural concerns and resolutions. However, this emergent architecture documentation did not serve all project members equally well; it appears that those on the periphery of the project—newcomers and adopters—still require explicit architecture documentation, as we will show.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11582/301705
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