An Empirical Study of Program Modification Histories

Unknown author (1983-03)

Working Paper

Large programs undergo many changes before they run in a satisfactory manner. For many large programs, modification histories are kept which record every change that is made to the program. By studying these records, patterns of program evolution can be identified. This paper describes a taxonomy of types of changes which was developed by studying several such histories. In addition, it discusses a possible application of this classification in an interactive tool for the updating of user documentation.