Context-Sensitive Code Completion
Asaduzzaman, Muhammad 1983-
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Developers depend extensively on software frameworks and libraries to deliver the products on time. While these frameworks and libraries support software reuse, save development time, and reduce the possibility of introducing errors, they do not come without a cost. Developers need to learn and remember Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for effectively using those frameworks and libraries. However, APIs are difficult to learn and use. This is mostly due to APIs being large in number, they may not be properly documented, and finally there exist complex relationships between various classes and methods that make APIs difficult to learn. To support developers using those APIs, this thesis focuses on the code completion feature of modern integrated development environments (IDEs). As a developer types code, a code completion system offers a list of completion proposals through a popup menu to navigate and select. This research aims to improve the current state of code completion systems in discovering APIs. Towards this direction, a case study on tracking source code lines has been conducted to better understand capturing code context and to evaluate the benefits of using the simhash technique. Observations from the study have helped to develop a simple, context-sensitive method call completion technique, called CSCC. The technique is compared with a large number of existing code completion techniques. The notion of context proposed in CSCC can even outweigh graph-based statistical language models. Existing method call completion techniques leave the task of completing method parameters to developers. To address this issue, this thesis has investigated how developers complete method parameters. Based on the analysis, a method parameter completion technique, called PARC, has been developed. To date, the technique supports the largest number of expressions to complete method parameters. The technique has been implemented as an Eclipse plug-in that demonstrates the proof of the concept. To meet application-specific requirements, software frameworks need to be customized via extension points. It was observed that developers often pass a framework related object as an argument to an API call to customize default aspects of application frameworks. To enable such customizations, the object can be created by extending a framework class, implementing an interface, or changing the properties of the object via API calls. However, it is both a common and non-trivial task to find all the details related to the customizations. To address this issue, a technique has been developed, called FEMIR. The technique utilizes partial program analysis and graph mining technique to detect, group, and rank framework extension examples. The tool extends existing code completion infrastructure to inform developers about customization choices, enabling them to browse through extension points of a framework, and frequent usages of each point in terms of code examples. Findings from this research and proposed techniques have the potential to help developers to learn different aspects of APIs, thus ease software development, and improve the productivity of developers.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
SupervisorRoy, Chanchal; Schneider, Kevin
CommitteeVassileva, Julita; Makaroff, Dwight; McQuillan, Ian; Ko, Seok-Bum
Copyright DateJanuary 2018