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Natalia Mannov joins our team

A warm welcome to Natalia Mannov, who joins our team as a researcher and a Ph.D. candidate from July 2013. We are looking forward to work together with her in particular in the area of Requirements Engineering and Human Computer Interaction.

User Feedback in the AppStore

“User Feedback in the AppStore: An Empirical Study” is the title of the new paper by Prof. Maalej and Dennis Pagano which has been recently accepted for publication at the renowned conference “IEEE International Conference on Requirements Engineering” RE 2013.

This research will be presented by Prof. Maalej at RE 2013 in Rio De Janeiro.A�


Dennis Pagano and Walid Maalej


Application distribution platforms – or app stores – such as Google Play or Apple AppStore allow users to submit feedback in form of ratings and reviews to downloaded applications. In the last few years, these platforms have become very popular to both application developers and users. However, their real potential for and impact on requirements engineering processes are not yet well understood. This paper reports on an exploratory study, which analyzes over one million reviews from the Apple AppStore. We investigated how and when users provide feedback, inspected the feedback content, and analyzed its impact on the user community. We found that most of the feedback is provided shortly after new releases, with a quickly decreasing frequency over time. Reviews typically contain multiple topics, such as user experience, bug reports, and feature requests. The quality and constructiveness vary widely, from helpful advices and innovative ideas to insulting offenses. Feedback content has an impact on download numbers: positive messages usually lead to better ratings and vice versa. Negative feedback such as shortcomings is typically destructive and misses context details and user experience. We discuss our findings and their impact on software and requirements engineering teams.

More Information

You can download a pre-print of the paper under this link.
For more information on the conference and the talk, follow this link.

Swapneel Sheth is visiting MOBIS

Swapneel ShethA�from Columbia University,A�New York (USA) is visiting our group for an extended stay during the summer of 2013.A�Swapneel is collaborating with us on a project, which aims to identify privacy requirements in software engineering projects. In particular we are focussing on the engineering of context-aware systems and studying the difference of privacy requirements between the EU and the US. We are looking forward to a fruitful collaboration.

Swapneel is in the final year of his Ph.D. studiesA�under the supervision of Prof. Gail Kaiser (Programming Systems Lab). His area of research includes Software Engineering, Privacy, and Recommender Systems.

Patterns of Knowledge in API Reference Documentation

“Patterns of Knowledge in API Reference Documentation” is the title of the new paper by Prof. Maalej and Prof. Robillard, which has been recently accepted for publication at the renowned journal IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering.


Walid Maalej and Martin P. Robillard


Reading reference documentation is an important part of programming with APIs. Reference documentation complements the API by providing information not obvious from the API syntax. To improve the quality of reference documentation and the efficiency with which the relevant information it contains can be accessed, we must first understand its content. We report on a study of the nature and organization of knowledge contained in the reference documentation of the hundreds of APIs provided as part of two major technology platforms: Java SDK 6 and .NET 4.0. Our study involved the development of a taxonomy of knowledge types based on grounded methods and independent empirical validation. Seventeen trained coders used the taxonomy to rate a total of 5574 randomly-sampled documentation units to assess the knowledge they contain. Our results provide a comprehensive perspective on the patterns of knowledge in API documentation: observations about the types of knowledge it contains, and how this knowledge is distributed throughout the documentation. The taxonomy and patterns of knowledge we present in this paper can be used to help practitioners evaluate the content of their API documentation, better organize their documentation, and limit the amount of low-value content. They also provides a vocabulary that can help structure and facilitate discussions about the content of APIs.A�


Visit the Projects Website

Download the Full Version (pdf)*

*This is the authors’ version of the work. The final formal version should be accessed via IEEE DL and might slightly differ from this preprint version

New book on Managing Requirements Knowledge

Requirements engineering is one of the most complex and at the same time most crucial aspects of software engineering. It typically involves different stakeholders with different backgrounds. Constant changes in both the problem and the solution domain make the work of the stakeholders extremely dynamic. New problems are discovered, additional information is needed, alternative solutions are proposed, several options are evaluated, and new hands-on experience is gained on a daily basis. The knowledge needed to define and implement requirements is immense, often interdisciplinary and constantly expanding. It typically includes engineering, management and collaboration information, as well as psychological aspects and best practices.

This book discusses systematic means for managing requirements knowledge and its owners as valuable assets. It focuses on potentials and benefits of a�?lightweight,a�? modern knowledge technologies such as semantic Wikis, machine learning, and recommender systems applied to requirements engineering. The 17 chapters are authored by some of the most renowned researchers in the field, distilling the discussions held over the last five years at the MARK workshop series. They present novel ideas, emerging methodologies, frameworks, tools and key industrial experience in capturing, representing, sharing, and reusing knowledge in requirements engineering.

While the book primarily addresses researchers and graduate students, practitioners will also benefit from the reports and approaches presented in this comprehensive work.

This book delivers exciting insights into the benefits and use of knowledge technology for requirements engineering.”
— Barbara Paech (Professor and Spokeswoman ofA� the section “Software Engineering” in the German computer science society)

Managing requirements knowledge lies at the heart of understanding stakeholder’s needs and building software systems that address those needs. This book assembles key research contributions that will serve as an invaluable resource for researchers and enlightened practitioners in the area.
— Bashar Nuseibeh (Professor and Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transaction on Software Engineering)


Zijad Kurtanovic joins our team

A warm welcome toA�Zijad Kurtanovic, who joins our team as a researcher and a Ph.D. candidate from February 2013. We are looking forward to work together and to his contribution and support.

Prof. Maalej is invited speaker at ISEC 2013

On February 22nd, Walid will held a key note speech at ISEC 2013 on How Do Professional Developers Comprehend Software? ISEC is the annual conference of India SOFTware Engineering community (ISOFT), the Indian Chapter of theA�SIGSOFTA�Special Interest Group ofA�ACM.

Abstract: Research in program comprehension has considerably evolved over the past two decades. However, only little is known about how developers practice program comprehension under time and project pressure, and which methods and tools proposed by researchers are used in industry. This paper reports on an observational study of 28 professional developers from seven companies, investigating how developers comprehend software. In particular we focus on the strategies followed, information needed, and tools used. We found that developers put themselves in the role of end users by inspecting user interfaces. They try to avoid program comprehension, and employ recurring, structured comprehension strategies depending on work context. Further, we found that standards and experience facilitate comprehension. Program comprehension was considered a subtask of other maintenance tasks rather than a task by itself. We also found that face-to-face communication is preferred to documentation. Overall, our results show a gap between program comprehension research and practice as we did not observe any use of state of the art comprehension tools and developers seem to be unaware of them. Our findings call for further careful analysis and for reconsidering research agendas. The full paper can be downloaded here.

MOBIS website lauched

We are glad to announce that our new website has been launched. You will find here latest news and information on research and teaching activities on Mobile Services and Software Engineering.

Announcement of Events


Mittwoch, 16.1.2013,A�18 Uhr c.t.A�

HauptgebA�ude der UniversitA�t Hamburg
Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1
Agathe-Lasch-HA�rsaal (ESA B)

Mehrseitige IT-Sicherheit schafft Vertrauen

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hannes Federrath Fachbereich InformatikA�A�

Vermessung der Netzwelt: Brauchen wir fA?r das digitale Zeitalter eine neue Werte-Ordnung? Die DIVSI-Studien zu Vertrauen und Sicherheit im Internet

Matthias Kammer Deutsches Institut fA?r Vertrauen und Sicherheit im Internet (DIVSI)A�A�

19:45 Ende der Veranstaltung

IT und Frauen

Montag, 28.01.2013, 16 Uhr c.t.A�bis 17.45 Uhr

UniversitA�t Hamburg, Von-Melle-Park 8
Anna-Siemsen-HA�rsaal (Erzwiss H)

Frauen in der IT a�� Warum die IT fA?r Frauen attraktiv ist

Barbara Saunier, Managing Director Beiersdorf Shared Services GmbH and CIOA�Beiersdorf AG


Barbara Saunier, Beiersdorf,A�Dr. Julia WA�lm,A� Dataport und ITMC-Vorstand,A�VizeprA�sident Siegfried Stiehl,A�MIN-Dekan Heinrich Graener und weitere


Fachbereichsleiterin Prof. Dr. Ingrid Schirmer

zusammen mit Studierenden des FachbereichsA�


ICSE 2013 workshop list is online.

ICSE Workshops provide a highly interactive and collaborative environment in which to discuss and advance important topics in software engineering. They may last from one to two days, and be held before or after the main conference. Workshops can be quite diverse. For example, some may be regularly occurring gatherings of researchers and practitioners who are working on an established topic, while others may seek to lay the foundations for research in a new or emerging areas.

Check it out:http://2013.icse-conferences.org/content/program-workshops