2nd International Workshop on
Bots in Software Engineering

Going virtual July 2nd, 2020 at 15:00-20:00 UTC
In conjunction with ICSE 2020

Keynote Speakers

Jordi Cabot

Lessons learned from building a commercial bot development platform

Two years ago we started the development of Xatkit, a (chat)bot development platform. That initial research prototype quickly evolved towards an open-source and low-code commercial chatbot platform that spans over 40 repositories and a couple of thousand commits. Along the journey, we have learned many lessons regarding the technical aspects of building (chat)bots (NLP, conversation design, intent libraries...) but also realized that many challenges are similar to those in other software projects as the "software" part of a chatbot (the definition of the bot DSL, events management, the flexible architecture to connect to external services, the DevOps cycle for bots ...) is as important as the "bot" part.
In this talk, I'll share these hard-learned lessons, covering not only the technical challenges but also the business model, organizational and legal issues involved in the commercialization of Xatkit. I will illustrate these challenges with a number of bot examples, including one that will enable you to talk with your GitHub repositories!

About the speaker: Jordi Cabot is an ICREA Research Professor at Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, the Research center of the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) where he is leading the SOM Research Lab. Previously, he has been at Ecole des Mines de Nantes, Inria, University of Toronto, Politecnico di Milano and the Technical University of Catalonia. His research falls into the broad area of systems and software engineering, especially promoting the rigorous use of software models in all software tasks while keeping an eye on the most unpredictable element in any project: the people involved in it.
Current research topics include pragmatic formal verification techniques, analysis of open source communities, open data exploitation, and the role AI can play in software development (and vice versa). Together with Gwendal Daniel, he is the co-founder of Xatkit, a generic and extensible platform for developing all kinds of bots and digital assistants.

Gregor Martynus

Automate GitHub workflows with Probot

Probot is an Open Source Node.js framework to create GitHub Apps. A GitHub app can be granted access to selected repositories which gives them transparent permissions for interacting with the repository. They can act on events, such as new commits, pull requests or releases, and they can mutate resources, such as creating comments or changing files. In this talk I walk through a few apps that have been built with Probot as a means of introduction, so you can understand the underlying mechanisms and build your own.

About the speaker: Gregor is a Software Engineer with 20+ years of experience. He is the maintainer of several Open Source projects and is automating workflows on GitHub since close to 10 years.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gr2m
Blog: https://dev.to/gr2m/


(All times shown below are in UTC)

Opening and Keynote

  • 15:00 - 15:15 Opening
  • 15:15 - 16:00 (30 Talk + 15 Q&A) Keynote: Lessons learned from building a commercial bot development platform
    Jordi Cabot

Session 1: Bots Helping Software Development

  • 16:00 - 16:15 (10 Talk + 5 Q&A) (invited) Experiences Building an Answer Bot for Gitter
    Ricardo Romero, Esteban Parra and Sonia Haiduc
    Pre-print   Presentation

  • 16:15 - 16:30 (10 Talk + 5 Q&A) MSABot: A Chatbot Framework for Assisting in the Development and Operation of Microservice-Based Systems
    Chun-Ting Lin, Shang-Pin Ma and Yu-Wen Huang
    Pre-print   Presentation

  • 16:30 - 16:45 (10 Talk + 5 Q&A) Conversational Bot for Newcomers Onboarding to Open Source Projects
    James Dominic, Jada Houser, Igor Steinmacher, Charles Ritter and Paige Rodeghero
    Pre-print   Presentation

  • 16:45 - 17:05 Open discussion

Break (10 mins)

Session 2: Bot or Not

  • 17:15 - 18:00 (30 Talk + 15 Q&A) Keynote: Automate GitHub workflows with Probot
    Gregor Martynus

  • 18:00 - 18:15 (10 Talk + 5 Q&A) (invited) An Exploratory Study of Bot Commits
    Tapajit Dey, Bogdan Vasilescu and Audris Mockus
    Pre-print   Presentation

  • 18:15 - 18:30 (10 Talk + 5 Q&A) Bot or not? Detecting bots in GitHub pull request activity based on comment similarity
    Mehdi Golzadeh, Damien Legay, Alexandre Decan and Tom Mens
    Pre-print   Presentation

  • 18:30 - 18:50 Open discussion

Break (10 mins)

Session 3: Bot Recommendations & Challenges

  • 19:00 - 19:15 (10 Talk + 5 Q&A) Sorry to Bother You Again: Developer Recommendation Choice Architectures for Designing Effective Bots
    Chris Brown and Chris Parnin
    Pre-print   Presentation

  • 19:15 - 19:30 (10 Talk + 5 Q&A) The Inconvenient Side of Software Bots on Pull Requests
    Mairieli Wessel and Igor Steinmacher
    Pre-print   Presentation

  • 19:30 - 19:45 (10 Talk + 5 Q&A) Challenges and guidelines on designing test cases for test bots
    Linda Erlenhov, Francisco Gomes de Oliveira Neto, Martin Chukaleski and Samer Daknache
    Pre-print   Presentation

  • 19:45 - 20:00 Open discussion


For authors and ICSE participants, please register through ICSE and for external and non-author's you can register through ICSE (25 USD) or Eventbrite (free).

Call for Papers
International Workshop on Bots in Software Engineering

Bots (short for software robots) are software applications that perform often repetitive or simple tasks. In particular, social and chat bots interacting with humans are a recent research topic. Similarly, bots can be used to automate many tasks that are performed by software practitioners and teams in their day-to-day work. Recent work argue that bots can save developers' time and significantly increase productivity. Therefore, the goal of this one-day workshop is to bring together software engineering researchers and practitioners to discuss the opportunities and challenges of bots in software engineering. We solicit 4 page, research, experience report and position papers. Research papers are expected to describe new research results and make contributions to the body knowledge in the area. Experience reports are expected to describe experiences with (amongst other things) the development, deployment, and maintenance of bot-based systems in the software engineering domain. Position papers are expected to discuss controversial issues in the field, or describe interesting or thought provoking ideas that are not yet fully developed. Papers will be reviewed by at least three program committee members. Accepted research and experience report papers will be invited to give a talk to present their findings. Authors of accepted position papers will be invited to give a short lightning talk. Papers may address issues along the general themes, including but not limited, to the following topics:

  • Using bots to derive software requirements and documentation
  • Using bots in the context of the reliability and quality of software systems
  • Using bots to support software system release and deployment
  • Using bots to enhance and support testing & maintenance of software systems
  • Supporting and answering developer questions using bots
  • Using bots to ensure the safety, security, privacy and trustworthiness of software systems
  • Effective processes for the development of bot-based software
  • Privacy and ethics issues related to the use of bots in software systems
  • Issues in the interaction of bots and developers and other stakeholders
  • Experiences using bot frameworks in software systems

How to Submit (adapted from ICSE)

Submission must not exceed 4 pages, including all text, figures, tables, and appendices; one additional page containing only references is permitted. Submissions must conform to the ACM Conference Proceedings Formatting Guidelines, LaTeX users must use \documentclass[sigconf,review]{acmart} without modifying the provided acmart.cls and ACM-Reference-Format.bst, and use the ACM reference format for the bibliography (i.e., \bibliographystyle{ACM-Reference-Format}).
The submission must also comply with the ACM plagiarism policy and procedures. In particular, submissions must not have been published elsewhere and must not be under review elsewhere. The submission must also comply with the IEEE Policy on Authorship.
Submissions to the workshop can be made via easychair by the submission deadline.
If a submission is accepted, at least one author of the paper is required to attend the workshop and present the paper in person. All accepted workshop papers will be published in the proceedings by ACM.

Important Dates

  • Submissions due: Jan 26, 2020 (Updated)
  • Notifications: Feb 25, 2020
  • Camera-ready due: March 16, 2020



  • Emad Shihab - Concordia University
  • Stefan Wagner - University of Stuttgart
  • Marco A. Gerosa - Northern Arizona University

Web Chair

  • Ahmad Abdellatif - Concordia University

Publicity Chair

  • Marvin Wyrich - University of Stuttgart

Zoom Master

  • Khaled Badran - Concordia University

Program Committee

  • Walid Maalej - University of Hamburg
  • Martin Monperrus - KTH Royal Institute of Technology
  • Riccardo Scandariato - University of Gothenburg
  • Margaret-Anne Storey - University of Victoria
  • Xin Xia - Monash University
  • Alexander Serebrenik - Eindhoven University of Technology
  • Nicole Novielli - Dipartimento di Informatica, University of Bari
  • Andreas Schreiber - German Aerospace Center (DLR)
  • Anthony Ventresque - University College Dublin
  • Igor Steinmacher - Northern Arizona University
  • Abram Hindle - University of Alberta
  • Diego Elias Costa - Concordia University
  • Mairieli Wessel - University of Sao Paulo
  • Akinori Ihara - Wakayama University
  • Shivali Agarwal - IBM, India Research Lab
  • Philipp Leitner - University of Gothenburg