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Analysis and Interactive Visualization of Software Bug Reports



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A software Bug report contains information about the bug in the form of problem description and comments using natural language texts. Managing reported bugs is a significant challenge for a project manager when the number of bugs for a software project is large. Prior to the assignment of a newly reported bug to an appropriate developer, the triager (e.g., manager) attempts to categorize it into existing categories and looks for duplicate bugs. The goal is to reuse existing knowledge to fix or resolve the new bug, and she often spends a lot of time in reading a number of bug reports. When fixing or resolving a bug, a developer also consults with a series of relevant bug reports from the repository in order to maximize the knowledge required for the fixation. It is also preferable that developers new to a project first familiarize themselves with the project along with the reported bugs before actually working on the project. Because of the sheer numbers and size of the bug reports, manually analyzing a collection of bug reports is time-consuming and ineffective. One of the ways to mitigate the problem is to analyze summaries of the bug reports instead of analyzing full bug reports, and there have been a number of summarization techniques proposed in the literature. Most of these techniques generate extractive summaries of bug reports. However, it is not clear how useful those generated extractive summaries are, in particular when the developers do not have prior knowledge of the bug reports. In order to better understand the usefulness of the bug report summaries, in this thesis, we first reimplement a state of the art unsupervised summarization technique and evaluate it with a user study with nine participants. Although in our study, 70% of the time participants marked our developed summaries as a reliable means of comprehending the software bugs, the study also reports a practical problem with extractive summaries. An extractive summary is often created by choosing a certain number of statements from the bug report. The statements are extracted out of their contexts, and thus often lose their consistency, which makes it hard for a manager or a developer to comprehend the reported bug from the extractive summary. Based on the findings from the user study and in order to further assist the managers as well as the developers, we thus propose an interactive visualization for the bug reports that visualizes not only the extractive summaries but also the topic evolution of the bug reports. Topic evolution refers to the evolution of technical topics discussed in the bug reports of a software system over a certain time period. Our visualization technique interactively visualizes such information which can help in different project management activities. Our proposed visualization also highlights the summary statements within their contexts in the original report for easier comprehension of the reported bug. In order to validate the applicability of our proposed visualization technique, we implement the technique as a standalone tool, and conduct both a case study with 3914 bug reports and a user study with six participants. The experiments in the case study show that our topic analysis can reveal useful keywords or other insightful information about the bug reports for aiding the managers or triagers in different management activities. The findings from the user study also show that our proposed visualization technique is highly promising for easier comprehension of the bug reports.



Bug report, Topic evolution, Extractive summary, Interactive visualization



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Computer Science


Computer Science


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