Polymorphism in the Spotlight: Studying its Prevalence in Java and Smalltalk

Milojkovic, Nevena; Caracciolo, Andrea Enrico Francis; Lungu, Mircea; Nierstrasz, Oscar Marius; Röthlisberger, David; Robbes, Romain (2015). Polymorphism in the Spotlight: Studying its Prevalence in Java and Smalltalk. In: Proceedings of the 2015 IEEE 23rd International Conference on Program Comprehension (pp. 186-195). IEEE Press 10.1109/ICPC.2015.29

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Subtype polymorphism is a cornerstone of object-oriented programming. By hiding variability in behavior behind a uniform interface, polymorphism decouples clients from providers and thus enables genericity, modularity and extensi- bility. At the same time, however, it scatters the implementation of the behavior over multiple classes thus potentially hampering program comprehension. The extent to which polymorphism is used in real programs and the impact of polymorphism on program comprehension are not very well understood. We report on a preliminary study of the prevalence of polymorphism in several hundred open source software systems written in Smalltalk, one of the oldest object-oriented programming languages, and in Java, one of the most widespread ones. Although a large portion of the call sites in these systems are polymorphic, a majority have a small number of potential candidates. Smalltalk uses polymorphism to a much greater extent than Java. We discuss how these findings can be used as input for more detailed studies in program comprehension and for better developer support in the IDE.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Division/Institute: 08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Computer Science (INF)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Computer Science (INF) > Software Composition Group (SCG)
UniBE Contributor: Milojkovic, Nevena; Caracciolo, Andrea Enrico Francis; Lungu, Mircea; Nierstrasz, Oscar Marius and Röthlisberger, David
Subjects: 000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
500 Science > 510 Mathematics
ISSN: 1063-6897
Publisher: IEEE Press
Language: English
Submitter: Oscar Marius Nierstrasz
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2016 08:26
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2017 12:10
Publisher DOI: 10.1109/ICPC.2015.29
Uncontrolled Keywords: scg-pub snf-asa1 snf15 scg15 jb15 Milojkovic Milojkovic
URI: http://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/82287

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