What is it about?

Bugs are an inherent part of the software ecosystem—we tackle bugs daily, but do we question how these bugs get resolved? IT practitioners work to make their interfaces bug-free, and in this process, source-code logging is crucial. Simply put, logging, like a ledger, records the entire timeline of software activity, be it the sequences of code executed or errors that occurred. This recording, as we call it source-code logging, is used for debugging. Thus, in this work, we study common themes in logging-related questions on six community-based Q&A websites, including Stack Overflow. We also examine these themes across different environments, such as databases, servers, and android, to better understand environment-specific problems faced by IT practitioners.

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Why is it important?

Any considerable innovation in source-code logging would require a systematic review of available themes in source-code logging: what are the problems faced by IT practitioners? And how do these problems are changing with time? Thus, studying these themes and their evolution can not only help IT practitioners to find common bugs but also help them develop a common fix, improve documentation, or optimize the performance of their existing tools. Most importantly, these themes can be used to develop an automated debugger using machine and deep learning tools.

Perspectives

Although this article concerns a specific topic in software engineering, we believe that it will be helpful to the entire software engineering community. This is because logging is essential for software development, and by making the logging process streamlined, we can make troubleshooting easier.

Harshit Gujral
University of Toronto

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This page is a summary of: An exploratory semantic analysis of logging questions, Journal of Software Evolution and Process, June 2021, Wiley, DOI: 10.1002/smr.2361.
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