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Synthesizing API usage examples

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2 Author(s)
Buse, R.P.L. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Univ. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA ; Weimer, W.

Key program interfaces are sometimes documented with usage examples: concrete code snippets that characterize common use cases for a particular data type. While such documentation is known to be of great utility, it is burdensome to create and can be incomplete, out of date, or not representative of actual practice. We present an automatic technique for mining and synthesizing succinct and representative human-readable documentation of program interfaces. Our algorithm is based on a combination of path sensitive dataflow analysis, clustering, and pattern abstraction. It produces output in the form of well-typed program snippets which document initialization, method calls, assignments, looping constructs, and exception handling. In a human study involving over 150 participants, 82% of our generated examples were found to be at least as good at human-written instances and 94% were strictly preferred to state of the art code search.

Published in:

Software Engineering (ICSE), 2012 34th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

2-9 June 2012

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