Software reuse is an important and crucial quality attribute in modern software engineering, where almost all software projects, open source or commercial, no matter small or ultra-large, source code reuse in one way or another. Although software reuse has experienced an increased adoption throughout the years with the exponentially growing number of available third-party libraries, frameworks and APIs, little knowledge exists to investigate what aspects of code reuse developers discuss. In this study, we look into bridging this gap by examining Stack Overflow to understand the challenges developers encounter when trying to reuse code. Using the Stack Overflow tags “code-reuse” and “reusability”, we extracted and analyzed 1,409 posts, composed of questions and answers. Our findings indicate that despite being popular, reuse questions take relatively longer than typical other questions to receive an accepted answer. From these posts, we identified 9 categories that group the different ways developers discuss software reuse. We found Java and ASP.NET MVC to be the most discussed programming language and framework, respectively. Based on the programming languages and frameworks mentioned in the posts, we noted that Web software development is the most frequently targeted environment. This study can be utilized to further analyze aspects about software reuse and develop guidelines to be practiced in industry and taught when forming new developers

Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2020


This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in [insert journal title]. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-64694-3_18

Document Type

Conference Paper

Department, Program, or Center

Software Engineering (GCCIS)


RIT – Main Campus