Mining Questions asked by Web Developers

Kartik Bajaj, Karthik Pattabiraman and Ali Mesbah, Proceedings of the 11th Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR), 2014. (Acceptance rate: 34% for full papers) [PDF File | Talk] Download DataSet

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Modern web applications consist of a significant amount of client-side code, written in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. In this paper, we present a study of common challenges and misconceptions among web developers, by mining related questions asked on StackOverflow. We use unsupervised learning to categorize the mined questions and define a ranking algorithm to rank all the StackOverflow questions based on their importance. We analyze the top 50 questions qualitatively. The results indicate that (1) the overall share of web development related discussions is increasing among developers, (2) browser related discussions are prevalent; however, this share is decreasing with time, (3) form validation and other DOM related discussions have been discussed consistently over time, (4) web related discussions are becoming more prevalent in mobile development, and (5) developers face implementation issues with new HTML5 features such as Canvas. We examine the implications of the results on the development, research, and standardization communities.

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