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ICSE 2020
Wed 24 June - Thu 16 July 2020
Fri 10 Jul 2020 15:36 - 15:48 at Baekje - A22-Cognition Chair(s): Walid Maalej

Once a programmer knows one language, they can leverage concepts and knowledge already learned, and easily pick up another programming language. But is that always the case? To understand if programmers have difficulty learning additional programming languages, we conducted an empirical study of Stack Overflow questions across 18 different programming languages. We hypothesized that previous knowledge could potentially interfere with learning a new programming language. From our inspection of 450 Stack Overflow questions, we found 276 instances of interference that occurred due to faulty assumptions originating from knowledge about a different language. To understand why these difficulties occurred, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 16 professional programmers. The interviews revealed that programmers make failed attempts to relate a new programming language with what they already know. Our findings inform design implications for technical authors, toolsmiths, and language designers, such as designing documentation and automated tools that reduce interference, anticipating uncommon language transitions during language design, and welcoming programmers not just into a language, but its entire ecosystem.

Conference Day
Fri 10 Jul

Displayed time zone: (UTC) Coordinated Universal Time change

15:00 - 16:00
15:00
12m
Talk
Recognizing Developers' Emotions while ProgrammingTechnicalArtifact Available
Technical Papers
Daniela GirardiUniversity of Bari, Nicole NovielliUniversity of Bari, Davide FucciBlekinge Institute of Technology, Filippo LanubileUniversity of Bari
DOI Pre-print
15:12
12m
Talk
Neurological Divide: An fMRI Study of Prose and Code WritingArtifact ReusableTechnicalArtifact Available
Technical Papers
Ryan KruegerUniversity of Michigan, Yu HuangUniversity of Michigan, Xinyu LiuUniversity of Michigan, Tyler SantanderUniversity of California at Santa Barbara, Westley WeimerUniversity of Michigan, USA, Kevin LeachUniversity of Michigan
Pre-print
15:24
12m
Talk
Assessing Practitioner BeliefsSEIP
Software Engineering in Practice
Shrikanth N CNorth Carolina State University, Tim MenziesNorth Carolina State University
Pre-print Media Attached
15:36
12m
Talk
Here We Go Again: Why Is It Difficult for Developers to Learn Another Programming Language?ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper AwardsTechnical
Technical Papers
Nischal ShresthaNorth Carolina State University, Colton BottaNorth Carolina State University, Titus BarikMicrosoft, Chris ParninNorth Carolina State University
Pre-print
15:48
6m
Talk
Understanding FLOSS through community publications: Strategies for Grey Literature ReviewNIER
New Ideas and Emerging Results
Melissa WenUniversity of São Paulo, Leonardo Alexandre Ferreira LeiteUniversity of São Paulo, Fabio KonUniversity of São Paulo, Paulo MeirellesFederal University of São Paulo