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History-sensitive heuristics for recovery of features in code of evolving program families

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsPaper

Published

Publication date2012
Host publicationSPLC '12 Proceedings of the 16th International Software Product Line Conference
Place of publicationNew York
PublisherACM
Pages136-145
Number of pages10
Volume1
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-1094-9
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

A program family might degenerate due to unplanned changes in its implementation, thus hindering the maintenance of family members. This degeneration is often induced by feature code that is changed individually in each member without considering other family members. Hence, as a program family evolves over time, it might no longer be possible to distinguish between common and variable features. One of the imminent activities to address this problem is the history-sensitive recovery of program family's features in the code. This recovery process encompasses the analysis of the evolution history of each family member in order to classify the implementation elements according to their variability nature. In this context, this paper proposes history-sensitive heuristics for the recovery of features in code of degenerate program families. Once the analysis of the family history is carried out, the feature elements are structured as Java project packages; they are intended to separate those elements in terms of their variability degree. The proposed heuristics are supported by a prototype tool called RecFeat. We evaluated the accuracy of the heuristics in the context of 33 versions of 2 industry program families. They presented encouraging results regarding recall measures that ranged from 85% to 100%; whereas the precision measures ranged from 71% to 99%.