Iterative Context-Aware Feature Location

Xin Peng, Zhenchang Xing, Xi Tan, Yijun Yu, and Wenyun Zhao
Fudan University, China; National University of Singapore, Singapore; The Open University, UK
Program Analysis 1

Locating the program element(s) relevant to a particular feature is an important step in efficient maintenance of a software system. The existing feature location techniques analyze each feature independently and perform a one-time analysis after being provided an initial input. As a result, these techniques are sensitive to the quality of the input, and they tend to miss the nonlocal interactions among features. In this paper, we propose to address the proceeding two issues in feature location using an iterative context-aware approach. The underlying intuition is that the features are not independent of each other, and the structure of source code resembles the structure of features. The distinguishing characteristics of the proposed approach are: 1) it takes into account the structural similarity between a feature and a program element to determine their relevance; 2) it employs an iterative process to propagate the relevance of the established mappings between a feature and a program element to the neighboring features and program elements. Our initial evaluation suggests the proposed approach is more robust and can significantly increase the recall of feature location with a slight decrease in precision.