Thanks to a cold, I had time today to catch up on some long-delayed reading. Among the highlights were two pieces of work that I wish we had been able to include in Making Software. The first is Christoph Treude and Margaret-Anne Storey's "Work Item Tagging: Communicating Concerns in Collaborative Software Development", which looks at how programmers use tagging to label and find work items. The analysis is interesting, but the real payoff is the recommendations they make for tool builders.
The second find was "How People Debug, Revisited: An Information Foraging Theory Perspective", which explores how developers follow "scents" when debugging, rather than forming and refuting hypotheses. Again, the analysis is interesting, but the real payoff is the recommendations at the end.
Both papers are prime examples of the kind of pragmatic research that is quietly revolutionizing software engineering. I look forward to seeing what both teams do next.