Do Developers Discover New Tools On The Toilet?
Technical TrackIndustry Program
Tools can help software developers perform their tasks quickly and accurately, yet maintaining awareness of useful tools is a substantial challenge for developers. Physical newsletters are a simple technique to inform developers about tools. In this paper, we evaluate such a technique, called Testing on the Toilet. We first quantitatively evaluate how effective this technique is by applying statistical causal inference over six years of data about tools used thousands of developers. We then qualitatively contextualize these results by interviewing and surveying 382 developers, from authors to editors to readers. Our results suggest that the technique is generally effective at increasing software development tool use, although the increase varies depending on factors such as the breadth of applicability of the tool, the extent to which the tool has reached saturation, and the memorability of the tool name.