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Towards Faster Method Search Through Static Ecosystem Analysis

Publikationsart Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Tagungsbeitrag (peer-reviewed)
Publikationsdatum 2014
Autor/in Spasojević Boris, Lungu Mircea, Nierstrasz Oscar,
Projekt Agile Software Assessment
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Tagungsbeitrag (peer-reviewed)

Titel der Proceedings Proceedings of the 2014 European Conference on Software Architecture Workshops, ECSAW '14
DOI 10.1145/2642803.2642814

Abstract

Software developers are often unsure of the exact name of the method they need to use to invoke the desired behavior in a given context. This results in a process of searching for the correct method name in documentation, which can be lengthy and distracting to the developer. We can decrease the method search time by enhancing the documentation of a class with the most frequently used methods. Usage frequency data for methods is gathered by analyzing other projects from the same ecosystem - written in the same language and sharing dependencies. We implemented a proof of concept of the approach for Pharo Smalltalk and Java. In Pharo Smalltalk, methods are commonly searched for using a code browser tool called "Nautilus", and in Java using a web browser displaying HTML based documentation - Javadoc. We developed plugins for both browsers and gathered method usage data from open source projects, in order to increase developer productivity by reducing method search time. A small initial evaluation has been conducted showing promising results in improving developer productivity.
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