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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mining Stack Overflow for questions asked by web developers : an empirical study Bajaj, Kartik


Modern web applications consist of a significant amount of client-side code, written in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. In this thesis, we present a study of common challenges and misconceptions among web developers, by mining related questions asked on Stack Overflow. We use unsupervised learning to categorize the mined questions and define a ranking algorithm to rank all the Stack Overflow 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. Our results show that there is a consistent knowledge gap between the options available and options known to developers. Given the presence of knowledge gap among developers, we need better tools customized to assist developers in building web applications.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada