Software Open Access

(No) Influence of Continuous Integration on the Commit Activity in GitHub Projects — Supplementary Material

Baltes, Sebastian


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    <subfield code="a">&lt;p&gt;A core goal of Continuous Integration (CI) is to make small incremental changes to software projects, which are integrated frequently into a mainline repository or branch. Our paper presents an empirical study that investigates if developers adjust their commit activity towards the above-mentioned goal after projects start using CI. We analyzed the commit and merge activity in 93 GitHub projects that introduced the hosted CI system &lt;em&gt;Travis CI&lt;/em&gt;, but have also been developed on GitHub for at least one year before introducing CI. In our analysis, we only found one non-negligible effect, an increased merge ratio, meaning that there were more merging commits in relation to all commits after the projects started using &lt;em&gt;Travis CI&lt;/em&gt;. This effect has also been reported in related work. However, we observed the same effect in a random sample of 60 GitHub projects not using CI. Thus, it is unlikely that the effect is caused by the introduction of CI alone. We conclude that: (1) in our sample of projects, the introduction of CI did not lead to major changes in developers&amp;#39; commit activity, and (2) it is important to compare the commit activity to a baseline before attributing an effect to a treatment that may not be the cause for the observed effect.&lt;/p&gt;</subfield>
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