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To facilitate software maintenance and evolution, a helpful step is to locate features concerned in a particular maintenance task. In the literature, both dynamic and interactive approaches have been proposed for feature location. In this paper, we present a static and non-interactive method for achieving this objective. The main idea of our approach is to use the information retrieval (IR) technology to reveal the basic connections between features and computational units in source code. Due to the characteristics of the retrieved connections, we use a static representation of the source code named BRCG to further recover both the relevant and the specific computational units for each feature. Furthermore, we recover the relationships among the relevant units for each feature. A premise of our approach is that programmers should use meaningful names as identifiers. We perform an experimental study based on a GNU system to evaluate our approach. In the experimental study, we present the detailed quantitative experimental data and give the qualitative analytical results.
Date of Conference: 23-28 May 2004