How do software developers use github actions to automate their workflows?

Timothy Kinsman, Mairieli Wessel, Marco A. Gerosa, Christoph Treude

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Automated tools are frequently used in social coding repositories to perform repetitive activities that are part of the distributed software development process. Recently, GitHub introduced GitHub Actions, a feature providing automated work-flows for repository maintainers. Although several Actions have been built and used by practitioners, relatively little has been done to evaluate them. Understanding and anticipating the effects of adopting such kind of technology is important for planning and management. Our research is the first to investigate how developers use Actions and how several activity indicators change after their adoption. Our results indicate that, although only a small subset of repositories adopted GitHub Actions to date, there is a positive perception of the technology. Our findings also indicate that the adoption of GitHub Actions increases the number of monthly rejected pull requests and decreases the monthly number of commits on merged pull requests. These results are especially relevant for practitioners to understand and prevent undesirable effects on their projects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2021 IEEE/ACM 18th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories, MSR 2021
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages420-431
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781728187105
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021
Event18th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Mining Software Repositories, MSR 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: May 17 2021May 19 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings - 2021 IEEE/ACM 18th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories, MSR 2021

Conference

Conference18th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Mining Software Repositories, MSR 2021
CityVirtual, Online
Period5/17/215/19/21

Keywords

  • Automated work-flow
  • GitHub Actions
  • GitHub Bots
  • Regression Discontinuity Design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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