University of Limerick
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One-off events? An empirical study of hackathon code creation and reuse

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-30, 10:27 authored by Ahmed Samir Imam Mahmoud, TAPAJIT DEYTAPAJIT DEY, Alexander NolteAlexander Nolte, Audris MockusAudris Mockus, James D. Herbsleb

Context Hackathons have become popular events for teams to collaborate on projects and develop software prototypes. Most existing research focuses on activities during an event with limited attention to the evolution of the hackathon code. Objective We aim to understand the evolution of code used in and created during hackathon events, with a particular focus on the code blobs, specifically, how frequently hackathon teams reuse pre-existing code, how much new code they develop, if that code gets reused afterwards, and what factors affect reuse. Method We collected information about 22,183 hackathon projects from Devpost and obtained related code blobs, authors, project characteristics, original author, code creation time, language, and size information from World of Code. We tracked the reuse of code blobs by identifying all commits containing blobs created during hackathons and identify?ing all projects that contain those commits. We also conducted a series of surveys in order to gain a deeper understanding of hackathon code evolution that we sent out to hackathon par?ticipants whose code was reused, whose code was not reused, and developers who reused some hackathon code. Result 9.14% of the code blobs in hackathon repositories and 8% of the lines of code (LOC) are created during hackathons and around a third of the hackathon code gets reused in other projects by both blob count and LOC. The number of associated technologies and the number of participants in hackathons increase reuse probability. Conclusion The results of our study demonstrates hackathons are not always “one-off” events as the common knowledge dictates and it can serve as a starting point for further studies in this area. 


IReL Consortium

13/RC/2094 P2



Empirical Software Engineering 27, 167



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