Improving Feature Location Practice with Multi-faceted Interactive Exploration

Jinshui Wang, Xin Peng, Zhenchang Xing, and Wenyun Zhao

Fudan University, China; Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Track: Technical Research
Session: Programming Support
Feature location is a human-oriented and information-intensive process. When performing feature location tasks with existing tools, developers often feel it difficult to formulate an accurate feature query (e.g., keywords) and determine the relevance of returned results. In this paper, we propose a feature location approach that supports multi-faceted interactive program exploration. Our approach automatically extracts and mines multiple syntactic and semantic facets from candidate program elements. Furthermore, it allows developers to interactively group, sort, and filter feature location results in a centralized, multi-faceted, and intelligent search User Interface (UI). We have implemented our approach as a web-based tool MFIE and conducted an experimental study. The results show that the developers using MFIE can accomplish their feature location tasks 32% faster and the quality of their feature location results (in terms of F-measure) is 51% higher than that of the developers using regular Eclipse IDE.