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Tesseract is a socio-technical browser that analyzes code archives, communication records, and the project’s issue database to capture the socio-technical relations between code, developers, and issues.

Tesseract uses four juxtaposed displays (see Fig. 1):

  • The Project activity pane (Figure 1(a)) displays the overall activities in a project in a time series display. It allows users to select a time period for their investigation, which is reflected in all other panes.
  • The Files network pane (Figure 1(b)) displays artifact dependencies as a file-to-file network, which is created by linking files that are frequently changed together. The number of times two files are committed together is represented by the thickness of the edges in the network. A textual listing of the file names is provided to allow quick identification of specific files by name.
  • The Developers network pane (Figure 1(c)) displays relationships among developers. Two developers are considered related if they either edited the same artifact or interdependent artifacts. The edges in this network are colored (green vs. red) to show when developers have communicated via either email or the bug repository (e.g., comments or activities in Bugzilla). The thickness of the edges is derived from the number of times developers communicated. Similar to the file network, a textual listing of the developer names is provided.
  • The Issues pane (Figure 1(d)) displays defect or feature related information as a stacked area chart as well as in a detailed listing.

These displays are cross-linked allowing interactive exploration of underlying relations tying these entities.  More specifically Tesseract does the following (1) simultaneously shows the social as well as technical relationships among different project entities (e.g., developers, communication, code, and bugs); (2) highlights the match (or the lack thereof) between the social and technical relationships and (3) cross-links and enables interactive exploration of these relationships and how they change over time.

Selected Papers

Credits / Contacts

The following people are involved with developing Tesseract. If you have any questions, you can contact any of the developers:

Primary contact: Anita Sarma, Jianguo Wang
Signficant code contributions by: Larry MaccheroneJianguo Wang
Data from GNOME mined and linked by: Patrick Wagstrom


This effort is partially funded by the NSF grant number NSF CCF-1016134 and AFSOR-FA9550-09-1-0129.