Motivation and Goals

Our workshop series is motivated by the observation that tools and tool building play an important role in applied software engineering research. The tangible results of research projects are often embodied in a tool. Even though tool building is a popular technique to validate research (e.g., proof-of-concept prototyping followed by user studies), it is neither simple nor cheap to accomplish. Given the importance of tool building and the significant cost associated with it, our workshop allows interested researchers to share their tool building experiences and to explore how tools can be build more effectively and efficiently.

The purpose of this workshop is not to focus on any specific kind of these tools (say, refactoring or program comprehension tools) but rather to gather researchers working on different tools, with the goal of:

1. Providing a forum where tool builders—builders of academic research prototypes in particular—can talk about common relevant issues such as:
  • Should tool building remain a craft?
  • Should academic tools be of commercial quality?
  • Should the source code of tools be publicly available?
  • How to integrate and combine independently developed tools?
  • What are the positive lessons learned in building tools?
  • What are the pitfalls in tool building?
  • What are the good practices?
  • What are effective techniques to improve the quality of academic tools?
  • How to “manage” the ecosystem of a mature tool that has a larger developer and user base?
  • What is needed to build an active community of developers and users?
  • Are there any useful tool building patterns for software engineering tools?
  • How to compare or benchmark such tools?
  • What particular languages and language paradigms are suited to build software engineering tools?

2. Providing a forum (workshop and associated journal) where researchers can present and explain their tool and thus not only get feedback on it, but also real scientific credit in the form a refereed publication. To further this goal, WASDeTT-1 (ECOOP 2008) and WASDeTT-3 (ASE 2010) have been associated with Special Issues on Experimental Software and Toolkits (EST) of Elsevier’s Science in Computer Programming journal. The EST issue for WASDeTT-1 has been published, the EST issue for WASDeTT-3 is in preparation. We plan to have another EST special issue associated with this workshop.