GITVS: a Tool for Analyzing Git History
Kevin North, Anita Sarma and Myra B. Cohen
GitVS Tool Demo
Link to Virtual Machine Files
There are many tools that help software engineers analyze data about their software, projects, and teams. These tools primarily use visualizations to portray data in a concise and understandable way. However, software engineering tasks are often multi-dimensional and temporal, making some visualizations difficult to understand. An alternative for representing data, which can easily incorporate higher dimensionality and temporal information, is the use of sound. In this paper we propose the use of sonification to help portray collaborative development history. Our approach, GitSonifier, combines sound primitives to represent developers, days, and conflicts over the history of a program's development. In a formative user study on an open source project's data, we found that users can easily extract meaningful information from sound clips and differentiate users, passage of time, and development conflicts, suggesting that sonification has the potential to provide benefit in this context.
  1. GitSonifier: using sound to portray developer conflict history, K. J. North S. Bolan, A. Sarma,M. B. Cohen, ESEC/FSE NIER Track 2015.
  2. Understanding Git history: a multi-sense view , A. Sarma, M. B. Cohen, Proceeding SSE 2016 Proceedings of the 8th International Workshop on Social Software Engineering.
Training Video

This video was shown to participants for a user study who used GitVS with sound to train them how to use the tool. It shows each of the features of GitVS and explains all of the sonification elements.

Uncompressed version of video (80.3 MB, .mp4)


This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation awards CCF-1253786 and CCF-1161767. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

We would like to acknowledge Bakhtiar Kasi for sharing Voldemort git data history and Shane Bolan for help with an initial prototype of this tool.