Selecting third-party libraries: The practitioners' perspective

Enrique Larios Vargas, Maurício Aniche, Christoph Treude, Magiel Bruntink, Georgios Gousios

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

18 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The selection of third-party libraries is an essential element of virtually any software development project. However, deciding which libraries to choose is a challenging practical problem. Selecting the wrong library can severely impact a software project in terms of cost, time, and development effort, with the severity of the impact depending on the role of the library in the software architecture, among others. Despite the importance of following a careful library selection process, in practice, the selection of third-party libraries is still conducted in an ad-hoc manner, where dozens of factors play an influential role in the decision.
In this paper, we study the factors that influence the selection process of libraries, as perceived by industry developers. To that aim, we perform a cross-sectional interview study with 16 developers from 11 different businesses and survey 115 developers that are involved in the selection of libraries. We systematically devised a comprehensive set of 26 technical, human, and economic factors that developers take into consideration when selecting a software library. Eight of these factors are new to the literature. We explain each of these factors and how they play a role in the decision. Finally, we discuss the implications of our work to library maintainers, potential library users, package manager developers, and empirical software engineering researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationESEC/FSE 2020
Subtitle of host publicationThe 28th ACM Joint European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2020
EventESEC/FSE 2020: ACM Joint European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering - Sacramento, United States
Duration: 8 Nov 202013 Nov 2020

Conference

ConferenceESEC/FSE 2020: ACM Joint European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering
Abbreviated titleESEC/FSE 2020
CountryUnited States
CitySacramento
Period8/11/2013/11/20

Keywords

  • Software libraries
  • APIs
  • library adoption
  • library selection
  • empirical software engineering

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Selecting third-party libraries: The practitioners' perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Larios Vargas, E., Aniche, M., Treude, C., Bruntink, M., & Gousios, G. (2020). Selecting third-party libraries: The practitioners' perspective. In ESEC/FSE 2020: The 28th ACM Joint European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). https://doi.org/10.1145/3368089.3409711