Towards Faster Method Search Through Static Ecosystem Analysis

Spasojevic, Boris; Lungu, Mircea; Nierstrasz, Oscar (August 2014). Towards Faster Method Search Through Static Ecosystem Analysis. In: Proceedings of the 2014 European Conference on Software Architecture Workshops. ECSAW '14 (pp. 1-6). New York, NY, USA: ACM 10.1145/2642803.2642814

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Software developers are often unsure of the exact name of the method they need to use to invoke the desired behavior in a given context. This results in a process of searching for the correct method name in documentation, which can be lengthy and distracting to the developer. We can decrease the method search time by enhancing the documentation of a class with the most frequently used methods. Usage frequency data for methods is gathered by analyzing other projects from the same ecosystem - written in the same language and sharing dependencies. We implemented a proof of concept of the approach for Pharo Smalltalk and Java. In Pharo Smalltalk, methods are commonly searched for using a code browser tool called "Nautilus", and in Java using a web browser displaying HTML based documentation - Javadoc. We developed plugins for both browsers and gathered method usage data from open source projects, in order to increase developer productivity by reducing method search time. A small initial evaluation has been conducted showing promising results in improving developer productivity.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Computer Science (INF)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Computer Science (INF) > Software Composition Group (SCG)

UniBE Contributor:

Spasojevic, Boris; Lungu, Mircea and Nierstrasz, Oscar Marius


000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
500 Science > 510 Mathematics










Oscar Nierstrasz

Date Deposited:

23 Apr 2015 08:11

Last Modified:

08 Feb 2017 11:44

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

scg-pub snf-asa scg14 jb14 internationalworkshop scg-bigdata




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