An investigation of the use of software development environments in the industry
Abstract: Software engineering tools are being used in the industry in order to improve the productivity and the quality of the software development process. The properties of those tools are being perceived to be unsatisfactory. For example, researchers have found that some problems are due to deficient integration among the tools. Furthermore, a continuing problem is that there is a gap between the IT education and real demand of tool-skills form IT industry. Consequently, knowledge is needed of the properties of software development tools as well an understanding of demanded tool-skill from the industry. The purpose of this study is to survey commercial software development environment (SDEs) that are used today in professional software engineering and discuss their advantages adn disadvantages. A secondary goal of the study is to identify the actual requirements from the industry on the IT-education. A questionnaire was sent out to 90 software developers and IT managers of 30 IT companies in Sweden. The results of the survey show that IT companies, for most part, use SDEs from commercial software vendors. Respondents report that common problems of the SDEs are the following: bad integration among the tools, problems to trace software artifacts in the different phases of the programming cycle, and deficient support for version control and system configuration. Furthermore, some tools are difficult to use which results in a time-consuming development process. We conclude that future software development environments need to provide better support for integration, automation, and configuration management. Regarding the required tool-skills, we believe that the IT education would gain from including commercial tools that cover the whole software product lifecycle in the curriculum.
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