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Respired

Respired screenshot

Respired screenshot

Respired is a part of my Master's thesis. In short, it's a platform that researchers in Software Engineering can use to create reproducible survey environments, featuring screen recording, a full-fledged IntelliJ IDEA instance, and an interactive survey component.

But what really makes it great is the two-way communication between IntelliJ IDEA and the survey page. For example, when a button is pressed on the survey, a build and test can be triggered within the IDE, and the output of test can be used to advance the survey. But that's just the tip of the iceberg-- the power of IntelliJ IDEA is in the researcher's hands.

Case study: Glacier

Respired solves many problems in Software Engineering research: traditionally, there's a lot to take into account when devising a control experiment. Take as an example this paper published in ICSE 2017: Glacier: Transitive Class Immutability for Java.

Participants used the IntelliJ IDEA Community 2016.2 Integrated Development Environment (IDE) with Java 1.8 on a 15” MacBook Pro; we recorded audio and a video of the screen for analysis. During the study, we helped participants as needed with issues related to the computer system and IDE they were using, such as how to find a web browser and how to copy/paste, but did not answer questions about Glacier or final.

Clearly, this method of experiment does not scale well: for twenty participants, Coblenz et al. provided their own device to be sure that the environment was equal in all evaluations. A replication study could use Respired to validate or disprove their findings across thousands of users, giving them an equal environment in which they can take the experiment from the comfort of their homes.

Technology

Respired runs on Docker, creating a new isolated container for each survey participant. This container runs a preconfigured IntelliJ IDEA and the survey. The Respired plugin is the medium over which the two communicate: commands can be issued to Respired which can trigger actions in the IDEA.

Publications

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As I am still working on completing my Master's thesis, it's not open just yet.