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Using origin analysis to detect merging and splitting of source code entities

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2 Author(s)
Godfrey, M.W. ; Sch. of Comput. Sci., Waterloo Univ., Ont., Canada ; Lijie Zou

Merging and splitting source code entities is a common activity during the lifespan of a software system; as developers rethink the essential structure of a system or plan for a new evolutionary direction, so must they be able to reorganize the design artifacts at various abstraction levels as seems appropriate. However, while the raw effects of such changes may be plainly evident in the new artifacts, the original context of the design changes is often lost. That is, it may be obvious which characters of which files have changed, but it may not be obvious where or why moving, renaming, merging, and/or splitting of design elements has occurred. In this paper, we discuss how we have extended origin analysis (Q. Tu et al., 2002), (M.W. Godfrey et al., 2002) to aid in the detection of merging and splitting of files and functions in procedural code; in particular, we show how reasoning about how call relationships have changed can aid a developer in locating where merges and splits have occurred, thereby helping to recover some information about the context of the design change. We also describe a case study of these techniques (as implemented in the Beagle tool) using the PostgreSQL database system as the subject.

Published in:

Software Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:31 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

Feb. 2005

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