Analysis of the Technical Debt of Software Projects Based on Merge Code Comments

  • Marcos Henrique Melo de Araújo UFAC
  • Catarina Costa UFAC
  • Awdren Fontão UFMS


Developers use code comments for various reasons, such as explaining the produced code, documenting specifications, communicating with other developers, and highlighting future tasks. Software projects with minimal documentation often have a significant number of comments. In this regard, code comment analysis techniques can be used as tools to examine more complex aspects of software projects, such as technical debt generated by merge conflicts. Technical debt resulting from the resolution of merge conflicts occurs when the resulting code contains comments indicating tasks to be performed in the future. No studies directly linking merge conflicts and technical debt were found in the literature. The objective of this work is to identify and analyze code comments generated during the resolution of merge conflicts from this perspective. This process can lead to improvements in software quality and assist in managing technical debt. To achieve this, an exploratory analysis was conducted on 100 software projects, specifically focusing on task annotations originating from the merge conflict resolution. The results revealed that 60.61% of the analyzed projects have at least one code comment indicating the creation or maintenance of technical debt.
Palavras-chave: technical debt, code comments, Merge conflict
ARAÚJO, Marcos Henrique Melo de; COSTA, Catarina; FONTÃO, Awdren. Analysis of the Technical Debt of Software Projects Based on Merge Code Comments. In: SIMPÓSIO BRASILEIRO DE COMPONENTES, ARQUITETURAS E REUTILIZAÇÃO DE SOFTWARE (SBCARS), 17. , 2023, Campo Grande/MS. Anais [...]. Porto Alegre: Sociedade Brasileira de Computação, 2023 . p. 21–30.